Do you feel destroyed by the way we were raised?
Tell me what you fear and I will tell you who you are.
Pass me a bucket of your guts
and I will tell you about lunch, and that time
behind the pine tree, and how long
you wait at stoplights, horn blasts coating you
like tinsel. Rorschach would love
the way you arrange the pans
in the cupboard. You’re perfect until everyone’s
in bed, then thirstier than you’ve ever been. Not everyone
is haunted by the ocean. It’s not necessary
to shower more, but everybody’s got a body except ghosts
and who needs those. Wolves, boogiemen, drowning, guns, boredom,
tsunami, night blindness, falling branches, unnecessariness, God.
The car behind you at the light, aflame
with impatience and righteous ire, how it still refuses
to crash into you, over you, oh, to flatten the dry world down.
hymn for ______________
I wake and your name’s in my mouth like a third tongue, a bloated floater, a clogging keeping my throat from God. A poorly trained snake with eight eyes, all blind. A string of sour pills, chalky and dissolving. I wake to a fog painting every windowpane a sudden grey, flies in the vines, pressing to get in, to get to you, get to your name, your name that I can’t but spit to say, banished from sense, banned from all holy counties, burning in churches that have seen burn, on the sacred lips of witches, in automatic scrawls of monsters by children born to witness, as I was born to witness, born choking as waking, waking with your names grinding between my molars, gnashed to ashes to rub along these hungry gums.
Marty McConnell is the winner of the 2017 Michael Waters Poetry Prize for her second poetry collection, forthcoming on Southern Indiana University Press. Her work recently appeared in Best American Poetry, Vinyl, Southern Humanities Review, Gettysburg Review, and Mid-American Review. Her first full-length collection, “wine for a shotgun,” was published by EM Press, and her first non-fiction book, “Gathering Voices: Creating a Community-Based Poetry Workshop,” is forthcoming in 2018 on YesYes Books.