Raw Goods Inventory

Oh, clouds that do not look like cherubs, move over! My heart
isn’t big enough to include you. The crows shit on
my car every morning, such

gratuitous little fellows—the things I never asked for. Oh, unrecognized
genius, the modest beauty wasting from
illness, the good-kid-turned-bad. Failing

grade, summer heat. Oh, row of desks I loathed sitting at. In
school, we hatched chickens from an incubator, eggs
in rotation, the chicks deformed. One

with thin chest skin and no ribs—the organs sludged
and its cheep-cheep cries. The animals my mother made me
return—the rabbit, the toad, the slug. Oh, child

tossing a ball alone! The dandelions are systematically doused
with chemicals—the chemicals you’ll sniff
as a teenager, the brain the unrepining side-kick.

Dear sister whom I cannot relate to, I surrendered my popsicles
to you! Friend who kept my videotapes. Ex-lover,
you fall so clumsily through old poems. Book, you

looked better on the shelf! Oh, the philomaths are paraphrasing
other people’s theories, the same dribble! Numbers and words,
teleological trinkets that can’t retain the world. Over

a thousand monarchs frost-nipped in Mexico—untranslatable
odor. Oh, sex-drive that won’t be active forever! Oh,
old woman I will someday become! Take stock now, I say, use

your flexibility. Stomach stay flat, breasts don’t droop any time
soon. Oh, body, you were once small
and resilient—you could shimmy through

tight places. Mind, you were sparked; heart, uninjured. I am
such a thing. Lazy day. Oh, wizened hickory,
I too grow out of myself.

From Raw Good Inventory by Emily Rosko. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.