Montreux Rotholtz

Charm to Dispel Night Terrors



Make the sign of the guard dog.

Pat your thigh. Keep this in a matrix

in a glass jar, suspended in brine.


Fat drops of spit rain down. The air,

baked and roiling, squalls inside

the house, where there’s slick light,


where some spinal thing is gathering

what it knows around it. The sweet pear

is turning slack, turning black-sour


in your mouth. The vortices wait

in the hills, the very long roads

and the vacua of the desert.


Fever cattle are not real, even though

they ride this way most days, steaming.




You brought the whole mouth out and practiced. The land like a man’s shoulder. This is the scale

although where there are hands there are glaciers there are rough hewn clergymen there is measurement

thirsting to be catalog.


By the mountain by its ceramic grip. Wax casts of clouds and punched them through with dye

and iron pins. The bluing lead consumed its mold. I didn’t touch it but I can’t wipe it off that buzz that

livewire stink like a cyclopean radio. A fistula for sound.


You’ve got a mountain and I’ve got a day like a churn handle and we are coming up on the time

of my death. Sunbent copper shielding the alpines the crushed snow and spritz the lip shredding

as if to sing as if the lemon-coated throat might open. Blessed corneas and cragged limits. As if to sing.


MONTREUX ROTHOLTZ’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Prelude, jubilat, The Iowa Review, the PEN Poetry SeriesFence, and elsewhere. She lives in Seattle with her husband and a dog named Toast.