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Poetry

Audio: Read by the author. 

 

Part 5 

Today I found this word I like: Badme 
my rube white body lights up with grateful yum 
like a Fourth of July float. In my paradise 

there would be a lot of liquids and could I bask 
unabashed in the breathing 
hammock of myself as a kind of Sweden  

for unrequited fleeing. I try very hard to hide 
myself and abide that kiln of fight. Is he actually  

like Bob, shorter than I imagined and smelling 
of cigarettes? A little bear a little belly  

admits chagrin chastened and smart 
hungry and grinning  

opera singer dishwashing 
a new possible sun  

green lights slide over the car 
as it hugs the tunnel bend  

In America I feel more subjected to amnesia  

I feel the buzz of my overachiever  

to have friends is to be at the mercy of pizza  

I realized I had stopped making eye contact  

Occasionally I would hear my name  

The voice is clear sure and burred 
with undertone of laughter  

I thought you made me up and so 
what if you did  

Excise the heart, the breath, the self
Is there such a thing as demons  
I feel undone like kelp  

my body just feels tired from accepting love 
breathing like a new deer glittering  

If I know the meaning of all words 
am I the victor. I am  

a much better advocate for myself 
in dreams weeping and screaming  

The only place I’m not 
subjected to the nicenice face  

the only place I’m not a traitor 
Where I gleam and grin  

Ah, I’ll eat your heart 
And I eat it, I eat it  

 

 


Jennifer MacKenzie’s first full-length book of poems, My Not-My Soldier, won Fence Books’ Modern Poets Prize. She has published in numerous journals, including SpillwayLungfull! and Forklift Ohio. She teaches at CUNY’s Lehman College. 


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