National Poetry Month Day 3: Paige Lewis

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Paige Lewis is the author of the chapbook Reasons to Wake You (Tupelo Press, 2018). Their poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Best New Poets 2017, and elsewhere.

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IT’S HARD TO ENJOY THE STARS WHEN YOU DON’T TRUST YOUR NEIGHBORS

The things I know
______could fit in the swirl
of an ear, but I know
______stargazing leaves me open
to attack, and I can’t make
______myself that vulnerable,
so I make myself dizzy—
______looking up, then back,
then over my shoulder
______to the clearing behind
my house.

In the clearing behind
______my house, the millipedes
are dying. Curling up
______on their sides. Water
is the answer to every
______sickness—I pour it
on their struggle. See,
______rain! Oh, rain is good! Who
wouldn’t want their own
______personal lake?

The lakes are too cold
______for this time of year
and the cold makes me
______do terrible things, like forget
where cold comes from. I
______push my lover out
of the house for having
______hands like marble. I urge
the berries from my garden
______before they’re ripe because
I can’t bear to be around
______anything blue today.

Today, I’m eating
______berries and watching
an old film in which
______the scientist is astonished
when the bomb he built
______kills people. I hate how
quickly he forgives
______himself, saying If you step
back for a moment, you’ll see
______I was just one tiny part.
Of course
he survives the fallout. He
______is handsome. His eyes
are so much wider than mine.

 

WHEN YOU

when you         write you’re writing about the                    body
when you         pain you’re paining about the                    body
when you         sleep you’re lying for the                           body
when you         symphony you’re sounding out the           body
when you         (rephrase) you’re particular about the       body
when you         harm you’re voiding the                             body
when you         gild you’re polishing the                             body
when you         croon you’re lonely for the                         body
when you         shepherd you’re gathering the                   body
when you         dis/trust you’re dis/trusting the                   body
when you         plan you’re unsure about the                     body
when you         mind you’re not there in that                      body
____________you’re still so far away


Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →