Amber West

Amber West
If  you  wake

monkey in your bed
quarter on your tongue
sugar rotted veins
crumbled castle lungs
on cliffs you did not climb
in coves no man can touch
each word an unsolved crime
choking on the thrush
if the bud blooms ash
if you catch a growl
diamonds curse the coal
every star browns out
buses drown in leaves
buildings shed their skins
if it’s March and gutted
swine hang on roadside limbs


If  my  face  were  outerspace

my fingers would be Mars rovers
roaming this peach planet in search of signs of life:
beard hairs escaped from some manland
sank their spaceship here, set up shop,
iron whiskers twinkling from pocked pimple scars.
My mouth, the black hole from which nothing sweet
escapes, sucks as it roars, roars as it revolves. Plutonian
moon: the mole on the back of my neck, icy but bright
in the right light, quivers as I tweeze my eyebrows: each pluck
unbuckles Orion’s belt one notch until a comet sneezes
light speed from my nose. The force of it pulls
his pants clean off— Oh cyst, red giant,
what burns also shines
luminous and bubbling on Milky Way shores.


Amber West is a poet, playwright and teaching artist originally from California. Her writing has appeared in journals like Opium; No, Dear; and Puppetry International, and her works have been performed at venues including St. Ann’s Warehouse and the Bushwick Starr. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at New York University, and is currently a doctoral candidate at University of Connecticut. She is co-founder and director of the NYC-based nonprofit artist collective, Alphabet Arts (

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