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SMALL CREATURE THAT YOU ARE SEAN SHEARER


SMALL CREATURE THAT YOU ARE


Poetry Will Be Dead Soon ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Poetry stabbed its aunt and uncle. It drowned its father and

I would like to thank the editors at Quick Brown Fox for

shot its sister in the face. Poetry poured gasoline on its

publishing earlier versions of the poems “Small Creature

mother and lit the match. It starved its brother and pushed

That You Are” and “Meat Rain.” I would also like to thank

its son off the Empire State building. Poetry poisoned its

the editors at The Reader for publishing an earlier version of

daughter and fed chopped up parts of its wife and husband

“Wake.”

to starved cannibals. Poetry cut its wrists and touched itself to Iranian snuff films. Poetry burned American flags and

The poems “Archipelago” and “This Will Be the Cruelest

sold narcotics to your children. Poetry shot up the high

Night” are collaborations with Zachary Ryan Novak.

school and went for the pretty girls first. Poetry is a wellknown pervert and peeping tom. Its apartment was filled

Cover art by Aaron Olson-Reiners

with pictures of unsuspecting women with holes cut into

www.aaronolsonreiners.com

their mouths and eyes. Poetry gave AIDS to its lover. It hid razors in its socks and never picked a fight it couldn’t win.

Here are some people I would like to thank: My parents Flo

Poetry burned the house down to destroy the evidence. It

& Jim, Zachary Ryan Novak, Mary Burmaster, and Nicole

used performance-enhancing drugs to “try and keep up.” It

Lendosky.

turned its children into sex workers and molested backwards children. Its last meal will cost more than the state can afford. Its last words will not ask for forgiveness or make sense to anyone. Poetry is deskbound on death row signing autographs to purchase cigarettes and glue. Poetry will be dead soon.


Puddle I look for frogs by a nearby stream. When I find one, it leaps into my mouth, controlling every part of my life. I marry a herpetologist that specializes in frogs. She has a thing for stroking her fingers beneath my chin. She does this so often that

I

am

slowly

becoming

a

puddle

of

blood.

Awoobwoobwoobwoob is the sound of blood being stroked.


Food Court

CONTENTS

I walk into a shopping mall. I walk into the food court. I

Small Creature That You Are………………………….1

walk into a cheeseburger. I enter its dream state. I am at the

Fantasia……………………………………………….2

center of a gigantic grass ball. I eat the grass ball and end up

We Become a New Animal……………………………3

in a field of mud. I have four teats that become four

Meat Rain……………………………………………..4

scorching branders. I have four starving calves burning their

Archipelago…………………………………………...5

tongues on my teats. This dream loops forever in the color

Pilgrim Cult…………………………………………...6

gray. There is nothing I can do. This is not my dream.

The Debt Collectors…………………………………..7 Fire vs. Fire Truck…………………………………….8 Science Fair…………………………………....……....9 Black Hole…………………………………………...10 Wake………………………………………………....11 Something Sexual…………………………………….12 This Will be The Cruelest Night……………………...13 Food Court…………………………………………..14 Puddle……………………………………………….15 Poetry Will Be Dead Soon…………………………...16


This Will Be the Cruelest Night Collaboration with Zachary Ryan Novak This will be the cruelest night—here, at the end of things. My voice will slip silently beneath a heavy lake and it will be as in a dream where you find you cannot scream. I will paw at your naked back trying to speak. I will press my mouth to your ear and try to speak. My throat will dry out as I try desperately to speak. And it will be as in my dreams, except the lake is made of blood. I will be five years old with a nosebleed in my mother's bed. You will be the moon that I watch through the window.


Something Sexual

Small Creature That You Are

When night comes I will stare at the stars to feel something

There was an entire forest shaped like us, but you lit it on

sexual. I will imagine the feeling of flesh beneath my

fire. Animals funneled through our hot mouths trying to

fingertips, the sweetness of a stranger’s saliva in my teeth. I

escape. They were terrified. We watched our bodies burning

will drive to the grocery store to pick up women because a

safely from the mountaintop. But you weren’t actually there.

magazine said the produce section makes women feel sexual.

You were rafting inside my veins again, small creature that

I don’t pick up women. I buy a case of coconut-flavored

you are.

soda. I hate coconut-flavored anything, but it looks great in my refrigerator when company’s over. I never have company. My refrigerator is crammed with things I hate to please the people that never come. I am taking off my shirt now, unzipping my pants.


forest, shaking and damp.

floods out staining the studio carpet, while the audience sits

and masturbate to their blurry bodies. I wake up in the

skin from our calves. We collapse to the ground. Blood

put out as a courtesy. I dream about the women I will meet

louder. Our legs begin to swell like bag pipes, splitting the

the Knights of Columbus. I make deviled eggs and coffee to

fantasia’s play in synchronicity. The music grows louder and

staple posters on telephone poles. I rent out the basement at

meet for the first time, cameras flashing, film rolling, our

Who Don’t Know if They’re Alive or Dead Anonymous. I

with the same condition. When the woman from China and I

people who don’t know if they’re alive or dead called People

my manager calls to tell me about a woman living in China

dog that thinks he’ll live forever. I start a support group for

Everything is going exceptionally well. Years down the road

I’ve been. I don’t know if I’m alive or dead I shout, but he’s just a

show books me and I become an overnight celebrity.

bark as I float close to my front door. He’s jealous of where

Doctors don’t know how to explain my condition. A talk

travel home my legs don’t touch the ground. I hear my dog

orchestra coming through the bottom half of my body.

my house. I am shaking, surrounded by birdcalls. When I

walk through the city people stop and listen to the beautiful

I wake up suspended by a tree branch in the forest behind

One day a fantasia starts to play inside my leg bones. As I

Wake

Fantasia

there, hands fastened to the armrest, eyes closed, listening to us become a puddle, a pond, a lake, et cetera.


Black Hole

We Become a New Animal

Black Hole, who resides at the center of the Milky Way, just

I am playing a game of street hockey when an opposing

swallowed an entire planet of parents. Black must’ve not

player checks me to the ground. I scramble to my skates and

thought about the consequences. Mars is now sluggishly

sock the kid in his ear. We tussle onto the sidewalk. My

circling the Earth. The sky has been uncomfortably red for

fingers jab his eyeballs, his hands wrap around my throat.

weeks. We’re all hoping Black doesn’t barf. We’re all hoping

This continues for years. My fingers now part of his eyeballs,

Black’s parents are dead.

his hands now part of my throat. We become a new animal living inside a menagerie. We share a sizable birdcage with two rainbow lorikeets. Over the years one changes into a dimly lit room with a comfortable couch. The other turns into a series of inkblots.


Milky Way galaxy and went to the universe. I won the

The roof rips off spinning everything like a carousel.

internationals and went to the Milky Way galaxy. I won the

begins to float. The meat floats. The cleaver floats. I float.

nationals. I won nationals and went to internationals. I won

through the speakers. The bloodjuice on the cutting board

won regionals and went to states. I won states and went to

he drops dead. The phone rings. Helium voices bellow

I won my middle school science fair and went to regionals. I

The butcher hires me as an apprentice. First day on the job

Science Fair

Meat Rain

universe and went to the multiverse. I won the multiverse

presence.

to be seen.

the back of my notebook. You cannot speak in god’s

musician playing the blues. I am a satellite of bones waiting

asks, how did I not think of this? I wrote down my response on

meat onto a café rooftop. I rain meat onto a tuxedoed street

from numbers. How could you design something so divine? god

decomposing over the Atlantic. I hover above Paris. I rain

and met god. There I was in an infinite room made entirely

Weeks

pass.

I’m

alone

hovering

above

my

body


Fire vs. Fire Truck

Archipelago Collaboration with Zachary Ryan Novak

I sleepover my friend’s house the night before his birthday. When we wake up in the early morning, with his mom & dad

I’m on a rooftop, kneeling down, with a gun to the back of

still asleep, we play the game fire vs. fire truck. I am the

my skull. The man who has the gun claims I’ve been sleeping

building on fire & he is the fire truck. I am the bad guy & he

with his wife. I haven’t been sleeping with your wife I say. He

is the good guy. I cut tiny marks all over my skin & he grabs

circles around and sticks the gun beneath my nose. It smells

a container of chili flakes from the spice rack. So when I lay

like fake plants. Your gun’s a phony, isn’t it? He shakes his head

on my back, arms’ flailing like flames as he shakes the chili

so fast he faints. His head splits on the concrete. Piss

flakes onto the tiny cuts, my eyes brimming with tears, I

darkens the insides of his thighs as the gun cracks into tiny

decide that I do not want to be on fire anymore. I decide

shells. A wash of blood and excrement floods the empty

that he is the bad guy & I am someone who cannot win. But

rooftop. It covers the man’s body, rising to my groin. We

it is his birthday today, & for that, I will burn to the ground.

become an archipelago in a vast, new ocean. Species grow and die in the tides that rush between us. Coral formations harden in the creases of our skin. Beaches form from our dead skin; our hair grows into jungle canopies. From across the sea I watch waves crash inside his nostrils. When you listen close enough it sounds as if they’re breathing.


market. I can’t find my face anywhere. I can’t find my

end up necking until our heads fall off.

make out the streets that lead me to the debt collection

I fight another boy for the wing filled with cream, but we

my tongue like a bat. I make out the sidewalks and curbs. I

black garbage bag filled with sticks. Our turkey is a Twinkie.

face anymore. I walk to the debt collection market clicking

takes place in the far far far far far future. Our god is a shiny

my furniture. They take my hair and eyes. I don’t even have a

morning at 3:00 a.m. and every evening at 6:00 p.m. This

The debt collectors come by and take everything. They take

I was born into a pilgrim cult. We have thanksgiving every

The Debt Collectors

Pilgrim Cult

furniture. A woman cries into my naked chest about losing her face. I put my arms around her and promise to find her face-parts. We walk down the hallway and open a door to hear what sounds like a group of wild children tangled in rope. What I would give to be a child tangled in rope.

Small Creature That You Are  
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