National Poetry Month Day 26: Beth Bachmann


nectarine & leather (riot)

we said they’d never miss it our skin is twisted as harvest & smells like summer all day I hungered outside for something that is not here the rain came went came again camouflaged I walk like a victim close to the wall a butterfly sticks its face in mud or sweat for the salt it needs to breed you’ve seen it in my eyes fathering the field of fire I like the facelessness of the officer each man his own mask the lawlessness women & children at the front of the mob for the safety of the mob

the bell daybreak

pawn the knot in the throat of the bell silence is always willing you have a tongue too a heart I could cut with mine or ice don’t talk the fire wants one thing more fire the moon beckons the water with its little finger come here boat come here body what do you love I’ll find it


if we wade into water catch fish in cloth we’re bound what if we stir our ashes together before we eat I roll myself in dirt & pretend to hemorrhage when the birds come I am a fox in a glass house there is no privacy where to begin with so many bones I start with a fistful of gravel they start singing what is it about the victim mother you will not see me again on my hands & knees I am infantlike & not asking anymore I am trying to go if not my hands my mouth takes hold

–Beth Bachmann


Beth Bachmann is the author of two books from the Pitt Poetry Series: Temper, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Do Not Rise, winner of the PSA Alice Fay di Castagnola award.

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