Vincent Colistro currently writes and works in Toronto. His poems have appeared in The...


In plays I have eaten the poison biscuit,
laughed in makeup at the chain of accolades.
I have been reviewed, a half-dozen times,

and not been found wanting. Nightly,
I break open as a woman and watch myself
like a man. My ascot askew and foam accruing

at the corners of my mouth. A song
is but half my work. A poem but a quarter, reasonably.
Mine Viscount says that upon the stage I am as naked

and horrific as a bald horse, my pheromones as palpable
as mulled wine. Mine Viscount is generous and odourless.
He presented me once a month’s worth of elk meat, having

shot the poor thing. I was anemic then and losing sleep,
but my art, and mine Viscount’s generosity, kept me healthy.
O, ineffable warrens of human nature, allow me to be

your muse, your skulking apparition, your logic.
Allow mine Viscount to ride in the front seat of our chariot
for three and wax inconsistently about the death

of the written word, the androgynous candles and the sound
of a semi-hollow stage, upon which one wrestles the dust. In plays,
I have floated into chambers and bemoaned the death

of one busty woman or another, drank for hours
at the Jewish cemetery, waiting for the morning Times
to be delivered to the gas station across the road.

I have married mine Viscount’s daughter and deflowered
his son. I have squandered my money on funny masks. Beaks
of flightless birds do nightly peck my eyes out, in this

one recurring dream I have where I sell my clothes for a daughter,
who rejects my nakedness, and I’m left to hang by my lats in a black forest,
where nature devours me, and I listen in horror.


The Young and the Restless
Two new novels—Kenneth Calhoun’s Black Moon and Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation—depict epidemics of insomnia as…