National Poetry Month Day 15: “The Plagiarist” by Nicky Beer

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The Plagiarist

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I only steal from the ones
you’ve never heard of,
the ones whose fingers
shook too hard to hold
a pen, the ones who froze
with their heads to the ground
like cattle in a blizzard,
the ones who drowned
like witches in their sleep.
One I shut up in a closet
and fed through the keyhole,
spoonfuls for genius.
Another I hypnotized
into thinking she was a bird,
charmed her with seeds
each morning to my bed.
Her little claws clutched
my nipples, and she couldn’t keep
her songs inside her.
For one, I had to rummage
in his torso, elbow-deep.
I found his words folded beneath
his sweetbread, nodes draped
like a yellow quilt. The flies took
up the conversation from there.

-Nicky Beer

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Nicky Beer’s book of poems, The Diminishing House, is published by Carnegie Mellon University Press (2010). She has received a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Louis Untermeyer Scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and Discovery/The Nation award. She teaches at the University of Colorado Denver, where she co-edits the journal Copper Nickel.


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