And sometimes I know I am having a feeling
but I don't want to have a feeling so I close up
like a book or a jacket or a sack which holds
a body. Don't mind me, I'll just be dead in here,
you can drag me wherever you want, the body
seems to say. You laugh like a little silver moon.
You laugh like the moon on the water ignored
by necking lovers. You said you didn't like that word
because something so sweet should not call to mind
giraffes, but I love the word “necking,” the way it twists
in on itself, like what I do to you when I want
to disappear in you, leave the sack of my body
strewn on the shore of you. Sometimes I'm inside
the sack and then sometimes I am nothing more
than the stitching which keeps it from bursting.
Sometimes I carry the sack and sometimes the sack
carries me. I only know the difference sometimes.
Do you ever feel like it's difficult to figure out
what you're feeling? I have that all the time, especially
when I look out a window or at your open face
across from me in bed, or your closed face
when I see the quiet pain you contain, or which
contains you. I know you're more than that
frown which makes your face resemble a fist
with gorgeous black hair. I know you contain more
than the reaction to my words or my body.
Some of us have to learn to love with hands
interlocked, but each with our own hand.
Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Siegel. Used with permission of the author. “[And sometimes I know I am having a feeling]” originally appeared in Blood Work (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015).
My pills doze until I wake them
on the shelf
behind the bathroom mirror,
the one I see myself in
curled over, whimpering,
eyes dark and heavy
like lakes at night.
My pills doze until I shake them
and they dissolve inside me,
make complicated arrangements
with my biology.
They sleep and I take them,
gathered in the cup of my hand.
They tick against my teeth
and I hold my hand over my mouth
as if to shut them up.
Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Siegel. Used with permission of the author. “[My pills doze until I wake them]” originally appeared in Blood Work (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015).
still as a scar through the screen's glow : perhaps this is the origin
of my obsession with the color white : searching to name this shade
color like bitten bed sheets : color like a failed dove : or split lip
when red has ceased howling its way to the surface : perhaps the color
of fog over the river bed that morning : or the color of concrete
that bleach & blood leave behind : it hangs around her like the word
faggot in the air of the locked bedroom : like drying hemorrhage suspended
between skin & cotton : sideways on the bathroom floor : it hangs around
her like a name : that once belonged only to me : & i think maybe
most of all i am jealous : for any metaphor i can put to it : the dress
is still beautiful : pale & soft & pure : & isn't this just like my poems?
dressing a violence in something pretty & telling it to dance?
Originally published in BOAAT. Copyright © 2018 by torrin a. greathouse. Used with the permission of the author.
It’s interesting to me there’s a minimum but no maximum wage. One without the other seems like pants without legs or love without someone to love. So what are the groups? People who want no minimum or maximum wage; people who want a minimum but no maximum wage; people who want a minimum and maximum wage; and people who want to eat. A minimum wage of twenty bucks an hour is roughly eight hundred a week, or forty grand a year, or 1.6 million in a life. There’s your maximum wage—1.6 million a year. If you earn in a year what I earn my entire life, you deserve the right to be happy about it in a gated community where you don’t have to be ashamed of the dance of your joy. I deserve the right to put heirloom tomatoes in the salad now and then. Such as when my kid got her cast off and her hand looked fine, like it intended to go on waving at moonlight and birds. And I never thought about it but slipped the insurance card out of my wallet and slid it over. And the car started the first time for the drive home to our little bungalow that needs a new paint job, but that’ll happen this summer, right before we go to a lake for a few days and I open a beer one night and think, I have a place in whatever this is. Then listen to the stars saying nothing in peace, though what passes for peace is a mystery to me, not unlike who’s behind the universe or why so many people in unions voted for people who wanted to kill unions, but we did and they died, unions died. Now where on earth am I supposed to send the flowers?
Copyright © 2017 Bob Hicok. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.
Excerpted from Collected Poems by Marie Ponsot. Copyright © 2016 by Marie Ponsot. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.