A bath so good, I’ll type it out.
But why do you prick
the nerves at the water’s horizon?
Such places do exist,
noted or kissed,
cued in or clueless.
I’m riding bubbles,
holding the soap, believing in children
and calling you
names deep into the mailbag’s destiny.
This letter always calms
me though, the part about how we
grow up. How we beat
childhood disease and meet somewhere
between the past and present future.
We fly to LA,
go to the Louvre,
sometimes as far as
Asian places, Thailand via Hong Kong,
the Wailing Wall to Budapest.
We are exotic beasts,
more beast than koala heartbeats.
I faint. I fruit.
I shrink into the apology of curtains’ pockets.
Never cause scenes,
take allergy meds,
work the wood of winter’s stove.
Six p.m. rows the loneliest hour,
even the paper cutter’s gone home.
I used to think
there was something of merit to incest,
a mystery of lineage that drew
the blood line
back to root, fondle
of scarf against the long throat
of genetics, but I grew jealous having
no kin, no one to lust
the tethers of my carrion,
cartilaged bones of legitimacy
and grew worn down
with the rotting cause of it all. The pinky’s cut
went numb. Even Hamlet
couldn’t persuade me to his mother anymore.
So here come the flames,
the final frontier
of possessing the one who doesn’t want
a washing off of skin with lathering habits,
the melting bones of humanity’s nest,
I’m a blackbird now.
I fly back to my stash of crackers,
sneak into your front
window, leave your bed by the night’s tattoo,
plunder other stomachs for nourishment.
Feed on me too,
I’m the cup
of anything as long as you read me like Braille,
my only simile
in this pile of wings: please
ride me home now, punctured with shadow.
–Amy King (appeared in ElevenEleven)
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.