National Poetry Month, Day 21: “Eat the Sinew’s Disbelief” by Amy King

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Eat the Sinew’s Disbelief

You will never be great, no shirt, no shoes,
no servitude. Just a regular Joe, Josephine
who walks around, has thoughts, and makes way
for Whitman. You’re John the Baptist,
a footnote, not your own story.
Can you handle the not-a-tightrope or noose fix?
Who am I to speak of barbarism? I’m not even
anesthesia, not even appendectomy.
The world’s plans spill overboard, spinning an axis
it barely owns. Your neighbor eats Wheaties
from a box without your face on it.
Your Cheerios turn sponge discs like life rafts.
No one’s drowning. Just the eating, dipping
the spoon, the up & down, milk to mouth
on a slow drift raft, thinking out the later pages.
Your work sets a stage you’ll never cross.
You bear anger’s head, an angry bear,
a heel at the foot of Achilles’,
a fourth wall without the prison bars,
the snow bank’s crescent, little kid
absence, adult disappointment. But turning
to the field through the window called lawn,
you spot a wrangled few daisies jutting
sun from the ivy’s edge, one bunny
nibbling at leaves. So much happens
without the paper, the news without
an eye baring out her soft socket
of a blood’s hole rush, an iris honing
in on what’s not me, not any of us, what’s not
anywhere but the next field over
with the lone old mare, which is somewhere too.
We mistake and focus in,
as in so many vampiric pleas for Grade A
passage over. That bunny maybe never knew
how the hemoglobin dripped
from the prophet’s patterned head,
how the queen felt mixed with what
her tongue made out and the fear of guilt
that knocks at the middle of midnight or when she
spooned honeyed oats by sunrise each day.
We are all like this: balloons of cramped sizes,
a particulate serum from
gravitational force, a planet’s town leanings,
or even exactly where the equator
meets itself in past events no longer
in total: visions of greatness and vistas of presence,
those that rely on exactly how to pen
their inner air donating history’s deflation.
After resting, we inherit: lift the spoon, pool the red,
bite salvation’s corpus, eat a rabbit’s stew for bread.

Amy King

Amy King is the author of Antidotes for an Alibi (a Lambda Literary Award Finalist), I’m the Man Who Loves You, and, most recently, Slaves to Do These Things, all three from Blazevox Books, as well as a number of poetry chapbooks. A new book, I Want to Make You Safe, is forthcoming from Litmus Press.

Amy co-edits Poets for Living Waters with Heidi Lynn Staples and esque with Ana Bozicevic. She organizes The Count and interviews for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, edits the Poetics List, sponsored by The Electronic Poetry Center (SUNY-Buffalo/University of Pennsylvania), moderates the Women’s Poetry Listserv (WOMPO) and the Goodreads Poetry! Group, and teaches English and Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.


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