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Everyone Is Happy at the Ritual
Why are you pushing the husks
around and whistling as you do.
Body parts come down the street
on a pile of feathers. You might burn
in a corner. Your ground might be
forked then dampened. Count
with me: first your skin, then
this tendon, that other bubblegum.
you smell smoke. Hair you still need
to learn how to play with.
You are staring at a number, building
Scarecrows are clicking.
You bend to the earth
to hear the bells down there. An arm
reaches up and around your waist,
tickling you, pinning you down.
• • •
My Friend the Grasscutter
Look at the menu and tell him
what you would like today: the copper
hinge, a jewel sheathed in oil, pines
dripping into the grass, the grass, the grass
around his eyes, cut them down, cut them
all, tuck his business card
into your boot, take his tin of gum
but don’t forget the grass. Don’t forget
the damping pressure that built
the grass, his diaphragm, water, rubber
in his hair. Everywhere he goes
he sees the reflection of his hair. Everywhere
I see him I see meat dropped
in the grass, want to turn every fungus
I find into grass or at least
into lead, metal that will not
crumble. A man coughs. The people
talk very loudly. I would not call them
my friends but they are all
nice to me, they know how I can sit
here and watch them, saying
no I do not want to know you
but the more I say it
the more they look like a garden.
Christopher Janigian was born and raised in Rhode Island. His poems appear in Prelude, PEN America, Poor Claudia, and Web Conjunctions, among other places, and he holds degrees from Brown University and Columbia University.
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