Full in the fat wallow of me,
Even to the marrow—
Blood plumping along in a red swell
Blushing my most unabashed
Skinpatches: nosetip, earlobe, wristshallow. O
Is a crush of too-muchness,
A malady of my baffled self awash.
Finally the days, will I find
My bones I lost, will my sharps and edges
Hedge this fleshy
Habit I’ve made of excess?
Already my heartracing startles
Twitches, my dinner hiccups
Another’s diaphragm. Already and almost
I swear I feel
The protein creep of me, cell
By splitting cell, into another’s life.
Sorrows not for the heart-close one
I’ll lose from me at my delivery
But for my own
Soul overboiling, unbound, bound
To a stranger’s groans, undone by his hurts
To the third and fourth
Generations. What I’m birthing is my own
Never again mere. Never again my own.
Copyright © 2015 by Kimberly Johnson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 26, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
I have gazed the black flower blooming
her animal eye. Gacela oscura. Negra llorona.
Along the clayen banks I follow her-astonished,
gathering grief’s petals she lets fall like horns.
Why not now go toward the things I love?
Like Jacob’s angel, I touched the garnet of her wrist,
and she knew my name. And I knew hers—
it was Auxocromo, it was Cromóforo, it was Eliza.
It hurtled through me like honeyed-rum.
When the eyes and lips are touched with honey
what is seen and said will never be the same.
Eve took the apple in that ache-opened mouth,
on fire and in pieces, from the knife’s sharp edge.
In the photo her fist presses against the red-gold
geometry of her thigh. Black nylon, black garter,
unsolvable mysterium—I have to close my eyes to see.
Achilles chasing Hektor round the walls of Ilium
three times. How long must I circle
the high gate above her knees?
Again the gods put their large hands in me,
move me, break my heart like a clay jar of wine,
loosen a beast from some darklong depth—
my melancholy is hoofed. I, the terrible beautiful
Lampon, a shining devour-horse tethered
at the bronze manger of her collarbones.
I do my grief work with her body—labor
to make the emerald tigers in her hips leap,
lead them burning green
to drink from the violet jetting her.
We go where there is love, to the river,
on our knees beneath the sweet water.
I pull her under four times
until we are rivered. We are rearranged.
I wash the silk and silt of her from my hands—
now who I come to, I come clean to, I come good to.
Copyright © 2015 by Natalie Diaz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 21, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.