Tirage Monthly Issue Three: Christopher Dollard

Christopher Dollard's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Gris-Gris, The Little Patuxent Review, The Rappahannock Review, Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, and the Watershed Review. He is a recent graduate of the Syracuse University MFA Program in Creative Writing, and he lives in Providence, RI, where he waits tables to support his writing habit.


A median is a neutral ground
depending on who settled the city
in which you fight for your right
to blind pleasure, sunlight pricking your corneas
and jostling your optic nerve into believing
in hallucinogenic freedom. The mirror
says you’re doing a good enough job
which means your face will never tell you
how poorly your liver is functioning,
but isn’t that the party, isn’t that
the thrill? As a kid I stood on the edges
of cliffs and felt invincible
mortality, my eyes tricking me
into hoping a jump equals flight
but my cognition functioning enough
to feel the inexorability of gravity,
the endlessly intermittent if.
If daydreaming of flight was the forerunner
to measuring tiny powders with precision scales,
micrograms, not milligrams, then to be punched
in the face by a rainbow is perhaps
the most beautiful pain ever inflicted
on the self. But the body speaks otherwise,
speaks in burning noses and churning stomachs,
speaks in bruxism and palpitation,
speaks in auditory black holes in which
the sound of your voice repeats into nothingness,
a darkening smear on the highway, the car
imploding into a tree. But if we knew
that our sinus cavities are actually highly tuned
instruments of pressure, measuring
the cosmic importance of each breath
regardless if it’s composed entirely of smoke,
then we might realize that we’re only one step
away from those who die with needles in their arms,
and isn’t that the game, the rub?
The difference is a microscope or a telescope,
so this is your chance to look
at the Rings of Saturn in real time
or to peek underneath your own cellular structure
and watch your mitochondria, turbines
only one micrometer in diameter
that somehow play a small role in your orgasms
and in your sensation of terror.