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May 7, 2014 Poetry

2 Poems

JoAnna Novak

2 Poems photo

PRIVATE INTERACTIONS IN A MIXED-SEX GROUP

Together, we separate. We stare at mud or Easter’s grey river, disciplined, young,
mouthy mutts, steadfast as oranges, stable, on pursuit or in honey, at table, restrained;
hot as I am, sorrowful and written of dejection, so: punch me out for keeps and keep me
drowned, dumb-drowned pit, tip of the whip, cake and slop, tear above the breast.
TRUE: I am a better dancer than either of us expected. Myself, my I, my honey-eyed
hellion, my paraheaven (food is a dream): what we locate is a dog in a pen. Monitor my
intake in the clouds, and beyond that gate, all I plate, plate and plate some more,
tongue-scrabbled and mealy, yet, tender as a foal. My fingers callus, never bruise. Her, I
can use. All my life, where might we stay? Suite or chamber, star, saloon? Or the tube,
the tube is a room: moored in me, you, the yap of tape up-lifting, skin taut unto
malodorous crop. Like guilt, too quickly do I shrink. All night might be yellow walls and
Medusa tureens. All night, a little shame: little sugars, we treat sweet bodies to light—
until the gavage gets I can’t keep down, the metal bit is lipped and bled. All life, all the
same: I eat in private. I am a bad animal.

 

ON ABLUTION

Dank with flotsam, rank and normal, cousin of the pretzel, a shock or a jolt, clutch of the
boat, where one might sound gnawing bliss, this teenage place, limpid precautionary, I
was never sixteen, heiress heeding hartshorn, rollers and rainplast, here, carting water,
floating cuisine, patient on a chaise, glozing volumes, or simply counting her goblet
cells. Mother slipped the Dura, Father lost his hog, Brother drew a ring as Sister,
enchanted fawn, took meat on a stick. Florida: I left rationalized softness, a footed terry
trembling the incubator, nineteenth-century bell louding my last canned peach. I was
sixteen. The day of ingestion, I lazed delinquent, made time in the seventh floor stalls—
they smelled like Communion and wax. The ride was over before it started. I chatted
with ease in waiting and emergency rooms. I was afraid of nothing.

image: Gina Grafos


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