A Poem by Sina Queyras

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Death & Co.

The dead bell, the dead bell
Every Christ a clap of bad behaviour,
Ballsy as Blake, a birthmark
Of meat, a red frill of privilege.

Baby eaters all, a sweet girl
In a white cage. Such a useful future
Looming, the men at the door of thirteen
Waiting for the right moment.

I haven’t felt this way in years. I have been
A sheep in wolf’s clothing, eating
At the trough, supping on fine bones.
They have treated me like just another,

And I have repaid their kind company
By acknowledging their appetite for youth,
Not getting that, like the animals of the forest,
For men, not calling each other out is

Their code of honour — but I am born
Of a different forest, a different code.
Ungrateful woman, I can apparently
Choke on my bad faith, my frost
Flower, while my men ring their manly hours

And count their flock, for a man who fails
To high-five, is a man shunned, a man
That might as well be a woman. Oh my men,
I have been up all night, bouncing on camels
Into corridors telling of a future

With a different honour code. Gentlemen,
I suggest you ride the night with two mouths
Suckling your breasts. Bend your boys to your babies,
Bid them put their efforts into filtration systems
And ways to keep toddlers safe.

Then on Sunday, take
Your two breasts and toss
Them like doves into
Summer. Somebody’s done for

Or something. Call it hunger.
Call it unconsciousness.
Show it the door, show
It the door.

Sina Queyras lives in Montreal. My Ariel will be published by Coach House Books in 2017.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.