And when I am completely outside this and we’re all dead,
spread out against the craterless green hills
piled bones some future hero sets a foot on to discuss the peat
or falling into charnel within the insurrection,
there will reverberate a moment when my lover asked me
why I always go inside my mind, go somewhere instead of looking at him
and saying what I’m thinking. The axes on the first try,
how the laundry piles up, the papers forming stacks.
Didn’t I have a right to the repeating black bodysuits
who pulled paper from their heads and handed to each other
notes instead of speaking. This dream came true mostly,
wars of hatred, spitting into the faces of those taken away
the tiresome abrogation of areas where no one will impose
a tiny whisper and I have to say, momma, I can’t hear you.
Everyone can hear me in the back row of class if I’m shouting.
They shake their heads, you aren’t shouting, and they who seem
barely arrived from between their mother’s legs
beneath the shampoo of whatever fifteenth app stands
outside the poem while the poem circles their directly
beating hearts. It draws x’s over their eyes and we
already go sand. I say to them, what confirms the pattern,
and they say there should be a national holiday where
everyone goes separately out into a field or a cave alone to think.
CYNTHIA ARRIEU-KING is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Stockton University. Her books include People Are Tiny in Paintings of China (Octopus); Manifest, which was selected by Harryette Mullen for the Gatewood Prize (Switchback), and the forthcoming Continuity (Octopus). She edited the Asian Anglophone edition of dusie. Her poems have recently appeared in Crazyhorse, jubilat and TriQuarterly.