David Hornibrook

Self Portrait w/ Wrecking Ball



In 2013, there is no door. The church is locked from the inside.
The other church is on fire & I have a body.

What is this for, this hand?
Slow entrance? Touching the face?

And this mouth?
This art of naming animals?

And you, love, where is your finger ring?




Facebook keeps showing Miley with her mouth open.
& I keep finding little things wrong          with everything.

In the museum of WTF, the art of grease smeared across
glass. The seer’s tongue is only one piece on display.

A resurrection too, for reals. Sleeping inside a coffin to confuse the faithful.
A curious picture of a mirror and a face with doors with windows in the doors.

A wax figure of a woman breaking bricks out of a wall. A framed



Exhibit #324

The willow tree was not real.

[if there was anything I wanted
it was for the willow to be real]




Says TV preacher:    plant a small seed! Says

old Steppenwolf Greatest Hits record
spinning in the living room:           your wall’s too high. Says

     Starbucks:      coffee speaks to you.    Says I: no.
Says daughter:                      I want your scratchy face

Says cat:                     there is no cat here, says
doctor:           do you smoke? Says
     Linda:             come home early? Says



Says Miley:    let me in.        
Says God:




     Says Miley:      you wreck me

Says news radio:      there’s going to be a negotiation here.

    Says Billy Graham:      the most eloquent prayer is the prayer through hands.

Says wild mazes chalked
                            across the driveway:           here is everything you need to know.

Says I:             you, and      also you.



This morning

a hawk corkscrewed its body from the top
of the neighbor’s cottonwood

and narrowly missed
its prey,          lucky starling.

This evening

I am a hundred miles away
walking past downtown to a friend’s

small apartment 
for Monday dinner.                        


Last night

I dreamed I climbed willow branches into some ruin, some
church, was sorting through smashed concrete for little

shards of glass. Miniature complicated crucifixes
appeared, I couldn’t collect them all and people I love were

watching from the windows.

Last night, I dreamed & finally everything burned away.
There was just the one thing,        

that one        

clear thing.

Tonight I will dream            again
to find out what a body has to do.



I’m travelling forty miles an hour on a bus with a brown bag of apples from the food co-
op. I imagine the smile on her face when she sees these clean organic  

Tinsel drops of rain tap the glass and rivers roll down the windows. Perhaps she will cut 
out the cores and stuff the apples with butter and cinnamon

          and the entire house will smell like cinnamon!

But what if this is the wrong bus
and I’m already late – she may be in bed by now. What if these apples, grown free from 
clean soil without pesticide or gene splice are spotty 

                                                                                           and overripe?

It’s been raining since early this morning and the garden I imagine
is flooded – smaller plants washed away and water logged cucumbers 
floating in a muddy pond, the stems of the bean plants broken.

Clouds anchor the sky to the west. The steady, predictable rain could turn to storm. It’s
possible that this bus 

                                            is already years late, turning onto Lancaster Avenue
where a group of strangers hold umbrellas and wait beside the road.


David Hornibrook's poems have been the recipient of several awards including a Pushcart Prize and have appeared in The Baltimore ReveiwFive Quarterly, Day One, The Columbia Review and elsewhere. He holds an M.F.A. from the Helen Zell Writer's Program.