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Describe what you would have seen had the roosters
woken you closer to dawn.
Late August already. The jagged at their sins.
God crouching at the labor of us, us crouching
at the labor of ourselves, with iron rods sewn
inside our clothes to keep our glass bodies
from breaking. Listening shivers at
the nerve endings. Things unfailingly cringe.
Describe being endangered.
I hear reasons not to cry but I am crying to feel
the cold come in like an illness that will recover me.
A bruise finds me, a bruise knows where I sleep:
the pear’s sickly skin the color of a throat,
ravines that sing where ravines never were,
the sky in igneous ropes.
Describe being unreal.
When I finally woke, what was the world
but sleep. Graveyards where the wind is why,
wild as cursive and motorcycle-stark and white
as a gown of waiting. I am melting toward a world,
the small belly, into vivid such-liquids and
a disguise of lavishes. October lacerations.
The neon nears. No one tells me what
to believe and for once I believe in nothing.
Jennifer Militello’s poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The North American Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is author of the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail.
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