by Mark Bibbins, Editor
For safety’s sake, the iron escape
folds up from the ground. Bad limb
that won’t go down, I’m asking
for it, party clothes the all
of what I own. Even this cat I can’t
claim, wandered-in thing clawing the low
tulle in the closet, the dress
my every memory, the cat a flame
in an ashcan, batting the fringe
of the window hanging: this is trauma.
Either that, or this is romance.
He lived in an enormous house for artists,
sufficiently dark and malformed
to suggest the interior space of the body,
small peace and the snaps of fever
and light: ALMOST HEAVEN, he said.
I hope to be let in when I almost
die. When you live in a ghost town,
every hole’s an eye
Just in from a gin-blue downpour, pound
on the door like a cop knock, not
with the knuckles but the side
of the fist: ONE MINUTE, PLEASE.
Pain has tracked me like an angry ex,
flashing the international sign for yes
across the shore, across this ocean
of bruise on the turnip globe.
Picture of health and cagey, the vegetable
lady in the store wouldn’t say how long
she fasts. It’s hell, and ever turning
to rivalry, sun-up to -down, five
days, ten days, thirty now and the draw
of difficult men, you feel it clearing?
MR. ONE-MINUTE PLEASE, I never
would call him, what said that? I blame
the weather. Speakers of snow
have 27 words for Inuit and 1 for
YOU CAN’T FIRE ME I QUIT
Natalie Shapero’s poems have appeared in FENCE, The New Republic, and Poetry. Her book, No Object, was published by Saturnalia.
There are so many poems here in the archives that you could very well overdose on poetry. You may contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.