Men are legally allowed to have sex with animals, as long as the animals are female. Having sexual relations with a male animal is taboo and punishable by death. As long as the fish are female saleswomen in tropical fish stores are allowed to go topless. Adultery is punishable by death as long as the betrayed woman uses her bare hands to kill her husband. Saleswomen in tropical fish stores are allowed to go topless, but the gynecologist must only look at a woman’s genitals in a mirror. The woman uses her bare hands to kill her husband, then his dead genitals must be covered with a brick. The gynecologist must only look at a woman’s genitals in a mirror and never look at the genitals of a corpse— these genitals must be covered with a brick. The penalty for masturbation is decapitation. A look at the genitals of a corpse will confirm that not much happens in that region after death. The penalty for masturbation is decapitation. It is illegal to have sex with a mother and her daughter at the same time. To confirm what happens during sex, a woman’s mother must be in the room to witness her daughter’s deflowering, though it is illegal to have sex with a mother and her daughter at the same time. It is legal to sell condoms from vending machines as long as a woman’s mother is in the room to witness her daughter’s deflowering. Men are legally allowed to have sex with animals— why it’s even legal to sell condoms from vending machines, as long as everyone’s having sexual relations with a male animal.
From Two and Two: Poems, by Denise Duhamel, © 2005. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.
in memory of Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Billy Lucas, and Tyler Clementi There are those who suffer in plain sight, there are those who suffer in private. Nothing but secondhand details: a last shower, a request for a pen, a tall red oak. There are those who suffer in private. The one in Tehachapi, aged 13. A last shower, a request for a pen, a tall red oak: he had had enough torment, so he hanged himself. The one in Tehachapi, aged 13; the one in Cooks Head, aged 15: he had had enough torment, so he hanged himself. He was found by his mother. The one in Cooks Head, aged 15. The one in Greensburg, aged 15: he was found by his mother. "I love my horses, my club lambs. They are the world to me," the one in Greensburg, aged 15, posted on his profile. "I love my horses, my club lambs. They are the world to me." The words turn and turn on themselves. Posted on his profile, "Jumping off the gw bridge sorry": the words turn, and turn on themselves, like the one in New Brunswick, aged 18. Jumping off the gw bridge sorry. There are those who suffer in plain sight like the one in New Brunswick, aged 18. Nothing but secondhand details.
Copyright © 2010 by Randall Mann. Used with permission of the author.
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
Copyright © 1966 by Robert Hayden, from Collected Poems of Robert Hayden, edited by Frederick Glaysher. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.
the bullet is his whole life.
his mother named him & the bullet
was on its way. in another life
the bullet was a girl & his skin
was a boy with a sad laugh.
they say he asked for it—
must I define they? they are not
monsters, or hooded or hands black
with cross smoke.
they teachers, they pay tithes
they like rap, they police—good folks
gather around a boy’s body
to take a picture, share a prayer.
oh da horror, oh what a shame
why’d he do that to himself?
they really should stop
getting themselves killed
Copyright © 2015 by Danez Smith. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 3, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets
Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.
I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?—
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.
Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
From A Street in Bronzeville by Gwendolyn Brooks, published by Harper & Brothers. © 1945 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Used with permission. All rights reserved.