Dawn Marie Knopf


In the event you get this after it’s over
& Dame Fashion corrodes at the turn

look at us from the side not yet measured

in time like the tailor’s new Emperor
here is the land & here is the Tourist

Dollar converting the basalt to plastic

mined from the cities the streets inlaid
straight even with shone brassy cobble

the wood buildings made solid

from inside the caldera made solid
with the matter more like a caldron

far less like the mouth of a planet

it is with gratitude that we finally see you
threadbare don’t come often to us like that

before the perfume of the cascarone

before Lent before the white muslin
delivered before the nights sponsored

by the coroner you ornamented her dress

with the brand’s iron at once painless
as the dress reformer’s girdle & good

milked from you & your wallet your gait


It surges the morning fallen damp
one part bleach two parts that which

you cannot remove from basements

damned beneath Dolores
then by what experts call lack of

initiative far from the drum & inside

the belly & beside the back river
the soil overcome by its own

groundwater levees stand on

saturated to the point you were forced
to request to move to another room

maybe something on the second level

each of you quarantined with woven
blankets from Baja a little lamp

you cannot light due to the dampness

magazines addressed c/o the names
of doctors curling in on themselves but damper

still than last winter and/or the dampest on record

or at least damp as -or- dampest
since the winter of 1968

now you can close the quiet ward

a decision from which you will never
recover but could allow you to

simultaneously hold the surge

as if your own personal congress pushed
one thousand buttons at once unanimously

that kind of resolve

trained like perfect
whips are displayed in the foyer

cots are displayed in the courtyard

we used to call this place The Palms
to each his own key to the suites

by the back river by which

we mean suites sarcastically
no one shall speak ill

of the guests some say they took only

what was offered heavy with palmfruit
see here he signed

the guestbook as has the cavalry aka

the boys under his jurisdiction trained
like perfect also in off-white coats

they remind you of what

the L’Occitane counter lady gently
urged of you pressing

a sample to your palm

nevermind the neighbors
know of you & your not-so-secret

indulgences slipped under the carpet

which buckles & still resembles
the shape of the thing slipped under

the carpet makeshift clumsy

a sweatprint after the bare
foot lifted moss grows between

you & the headboard the guests

satisfied yet overstayed

not savage at first then



As we assist attentively

in the levitation the clouds
gather more cloud material

above rushing at first

then lurk criminally
at the center where

the cloud slows & turns

ponderous to get to the vista
we took the alternate route

to Stockton then climbed 6

thousand ft. a place even
richer ever-enchanting

one county assessor the bank

manager & throngs of newly
rehabilitated prisoners also

from the county still stacked

& hobbled but able to observe
their own leather straps loosen

as if ligaments stretched past

their potential & I only recently
noticed our lids sag slack after

so much examination

of the body above us
when she wakes

she will be notable

& not only
for her discontent

* * * * *

How exactly does one start to a gut a house the vacant

Hornets’ nest hung on the shell of a building like a ribcage

A cavity dangling from another cavity & the neighboring

Structures also gutted split by fences twinned at the seam

Of the parcels laid out on Inyo County’s property map

* * * * *

Yesterday a man chalked
& re-chalked the end of a billiard

cue infinitely on a flat

screen television
in a boxstore just above

sea-level I know this because

I’ve seen a sign at each
elevation change & respect

such exceptional topographical

diligence whereas the levitator
makes no distinction between

the Trump Tower dour & disappointed

& shepherd’s landing which
we visualize when we’ve grown

idyll in traffic the pun you must allow

as I punned it for she who must relearn
the language comically

upon seeing our shadows she

says we are twinned two stars
with conviction ripe with the material

the clouds had gathered and/or star material

I will not be the one to tell her
when two people meet

one person yields

* * * * *

For all we know
the levitation is figurative

we met with a pastor in the city

not because we are believers
but because we decide it’s

better for her to remain gracefully

imperishable above us & we
train our tendrils upward

* * * * *

The first week he prescribes
memorization of Matthew 24:31-46

penance necessary in my case

for me whom he considers a liar
aider & abettor the second

week she appeared to us at ground

level & there was much jubilation
just as we had accepted she dwell there

among the cumulonimbus

after hovering among
the highest peaks we later used

as examples to explain to her her

past elevated self e.g. St. Helens
Hood Whitney and the 12

peaks among the Saw

Mountains commonly known
as the Sierras she is familiar with

but will have to relearn

their topography
of the ridges the clouds’ steady

bloom & I have been named

to teach her a couple things
for one how our bodies

perish & how the clouds

when the high pressure
bullies in from the coast thank

goodness the open shine all

too bright for our south-facing
televisions that those clouds

& tvs also perish or more

accurately fracture into
the infinitely small & our

escorts live in sin collect

* * * * *

their occasional security
checks & perish the psalms

inscribed on fragile material

in dead or dying tongues
the word only identified

by its roots left in the jar

for many months the first
figure of the heroine

carved into an alluvial fan

subject of course to erosive
geological exfoliation & la

Niña’s undeniable

manipulation our former
levitator learns of a thing

& also its approximate

date of departure each
faint hum level as

the bricklayer’s level

melodious becoming
barely negligible

until it pains her

to separate the hum
from its noise