Author: Paul Legault

Paul Legault's book, The Madeleine Poems, received the 2009 Omnidawn Poetry Prize and will be published by Omnidawn in September 2010. His "English-to-English" translation of Emily Dickinson's poetry, The Emily Dickinson Reader, vol. 1, is currently available from Try and Make. He received his B.F.A. from the University of Southern California and his M.F.A. from the University of Virginia. He currently lives with his husband in Brooklyn, New York and works at the Academy of American Poets.

Wet Paint & Como Mantequilla para los Catolicos & Missing You

Wet Paint

Before we knew it, everyone had
at least kissed a cousin.

THE BEACH: Simplicity is for strangers.
BIRTH: I like to watch the beach give me
to shells and the living citizens.
CANDACE: I like to collect leaves.
CANDACE’S BONES: Shake, shake, shake.

Boston is asleep in its sepulcher.
Robert and Robert died like two angry virgins

hoisted off into the same white bonnet.
STEVIE: I put my sugar in the pail.

ROBOT CHEF: I will light the blue torch.
DOLLY PARTON: They will have to fill a canyon with rhinestones

to ever really get rid of me.
I’ll lay my white egg in the flood’s white center.


Como Mantequilla para los Catolicos

And enough again.

ATTENTION: Be on the look-out for a glass cabinet with a tallish man inside of it.
REWARD: White will not exist.
THE IMMORAL CITY: I am only Paris sometimes.
PARIS: Voudrais aller a la plage.

The sound of memory is sevenths multiplying
like juice projected onto a gong

or a hot day the sun went down on.
ORAL SEX: I will be your invisible sister.

SEX: Sister, it’s your wedding day.
MOM: This poem is inappropriate.

I’m sorry, mom.
I don’t really know.


Missing You

From the rafters, they lowered an angel with the head of a dog and no legs or arms that
flapped around with its wings for a bit until it got tired, at which point it just laid there,
barking angrily and then whimpering, until it fell asleep sometime in the night and dreamt
of mustangs and of rivers and of death.

CHRISTINE: Oh. Hi there.
WAYNE: He reminds me of West Virginia.
WEST VIRGINIA: He reminds me of you, Wayne.
THE WINGS: I wish wings had thumbs.

Surprisingly enough, someone invented badminton
and cheese, and England, and science fiction.

They should have a parade.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR: Men should wear pearls more often.

COYOTES: I’m afraid of the snow.
THE SNOW: I get very nervous.

It could just be all the shit we were doing.
Or it could be anywhere.