Sarah Vap

Thirteen Untitled Poems

Where there is no love, put love—and you will find love. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Where there is no love, put love—and you will find love. Where there is no memory, put memory— and you will find memory. Where there is no pull, put iron filings, put metals, put bindings, put jaw traps wide open, and there you will find pull. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Where there is no speculation, put inflation—and you will find love’s victim. Put the victim. Put the operation. Put operations all across the victim. Put very quiet calls for each other. If I understand, what we want here is an increase. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Where there is no cannibalization, put wire—and you will find wire. Where there is no cannibalization, put memory—and you will find mind. Where there is no wire halo, put wire wrapped tightly around a mind. Put wire wrapped tightly around a torso. Put wire tightly wrapped around many bodies at the same time. Where there are no saints, put cannibalization—put a body—and there you will find even more. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Untenable? Where there is no love, put continuation or put increase or put proliferation—and there you will find the love untenable. Language is not infinity. Language is not hopeful. There is no rapture in language. I admit that I had hoped to “love” and “be loved.” —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

The actual bear is in a skirt. The actual bull is a saint. The actual fish is a multibillion-dollar industry. The actual skirt is a fundamental. What do you secretly believe in? What do you secretly want? Me—if I could conceive, I could increase. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

But where are the animals of actual praise. Where are the animals of actual mercy. Where is the coin in the animal, in the infant animal? —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Where there is no goodwill, put acquisition. Put incessant proprietary technology. Where there is no goodwill, put cannibalization. Put host. Put incarnation. Put transmutation. Where there is no love, put abstract animals. Where there is no love, put lipstick. Put mascara. Put lipstick down the rat. Hairspray into the nose of the rat. Where there is no love, put lipstick on abstract animals. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Where there is no infant, put Americium—there you will find the infant radiating. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

A bear’s body is a list of hard facts about her body. A bull’s body is a list of hard facts about her body. A man’s body is a list of hard facts about her body. A man’s body should outperform its competition. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Where there is void, there you will find the Index. There you will find relentlessness. There you will proliferate. But was that a void to be filled? That was not a void to be filled. Did you think that was a void to be filled? Is this what the Index told you? —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Where there is no love. Where there is no love. Where there are no super-angels. Where there is no blast wave. Where there is no cooling pool. Where there is no half-life. Where there is no trash-fish. Where there is no by-catch. Where there is no inedible or infant species of fish. Where there is no love. Where there is no curve. Where there is no Index. Where there is no woman. Where there is no price. Where there is no infant. Where there is no price. Where there is no animal. —John of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Index, put actual bears, put actual bulls, put actual cows, put actual lipstick on the actual animals of real earth.
—John of the Cross

Sarah Vap is the author of five collections of poetry. She is a recipient of a 2013 National Endowment of the Arts Grant for Literature, and her sixth collection, Viability, was selected for the National Poetry Series prize and is forthcoming from Penguin (2015).
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