Erica Dawson


For some, it don’t mean a thing without the swing

  of a gavel and a trace of doubt can trump

a circumstance.


                           Oh beautiful for skies

too small.


                     Today, the paper boasted this—

Five Local Policemen Tied to KKK

italicized as if to shout, It’s new.



                  When I went outside, thinking I knew

something of Frost’s birches, that endless swing

of left to right, the day managed to trump

up stillness. 

                        Today, I’m reading noon. The sky’s

pastoral. Cumuli passing for this

creature or that one, stallions, maybe K-

9 dogs, maybe the alphabet with K

then O, maybe this sentence: That kid knew

he had no business here.


                                         I spot the swing,

far off, of scales.  The winning suit and trump

card in a game of spades. 


                                             Today, the skies

are angled sides in the A frame of this

old house we built and then forgot.  There’s this

rafter, rotting, sort-of looking ok;

but, later, it ages to wood all new

and gnarled. Every knot a knee. The swing

of a young girl’s legs. 


                                           Today I told Donald Trump

the story of a woman. How the skies

came out of her wherever. Spacious skies.

Dark skies.  Grown woman skies. Coalsack at this

time of the month spreads deep. That kind-of K

you see in Crux, that’s her.  The bloody new

moon, her.  Yessir you’re going to have to swing

a big dick if you’re going to hit it.



came out of triumph.  Trump (verb): play a trump

on; win a trick. 


                              Tonight, I’m running skies

through my sewing machine, connecting this 

evening to morning, hand stitching a K

for force. It isn’t dark enough. My new

windows need black-out shades. 


                                                  Tonight, the swing

of things.  Tonight, ok, if any world

was new. Ever.  If swinging skies were waves,

rip tide, and spume. If Trump.

                                                 If even this.



“Condition” first appeared in the Bennington Review, Fall/Winter 2016 (2016)