2 Poems by Jake Bauer

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE’S FLOWERS

These precious darling dignitaries
are perfect. Perfect
and piercing enough
to gore a bull
in a fight you’ve never seen.  
Perfect Poppy bleeding bloom. Prim
and prayer, perfect petals. Here’s one
you’ve never told anybody:
A blossom walks into a bank.
Gimme all ya got, the flower says,
holding up her pistil.
Perfect pun.  
Thing is, you believe
in the swoop and arch, the strain
and the lighting of perfection, believe
when we die there’s nothing
but a bit of elegant banter
to be had with the earth.  
Perfect day for a stroll
through the garden of Please
and Quiet. I’m looking for things
I’ve never seen. Perfect
Orchid. Perfect
Magnolia.
I’m sorry, Mum.

SECRET CABINET

When she is sad, 
she opens 
the mirrored door 
of his mouth 
and places inside
a trinket. Now 
he speaks opal 
heirlooms at the swim
club, pebbles
naturally heart- 
shaped to strangers
in the town
gazebo. Five
minutes into their
anniversary dinner 
she pulls him 
to the bathroom.
She needs
to put a worry
inside of him
that is too big
to fit. Fate
occasionally comes
in a gorgeously-
bowed box and 
done up
in floral print.
Seated on his tongue
is a polaroid of her
tongue. And when 
she is happy—
O!—she keeps 
his mouth shut.

Jake Bauer's poetry has been recently published in Forklift, Ohio; Threepenny Review; Thrush; Poetry Northwest; The Bennington Review; and Inter|rupture, among others. He is the co-author of the chapbook Idaho Falls (forthcoming: SurVision 2018).

Elijah Tubbs