Erica Dawson

CONDITION

  •  
  • If it don’t mean a thing without the swing
  • of a gavel, if a trace of doubt can trump
  • a circumstance, oh beautiful for skies
  • too small. 
  •  
  •            Today, the paper boasted this—
  • Five local policemen tied to the KKK—
  • italicized as if to shout, I’m new
  •  
  • here. When I went outside, thinking I knew
  • something of Frost’s birches, that endless swing
  • of left to right, the afternoon did trump
  • up stillness. Today, I am reading the sky’s
  • pastoral. Cumuli passing for this
  • creature or that one, stallions, maybe K-
  • 9 dogs, maybe the alphabet with K
  • then O, maybe this sentence: That kid knew
  • he had no business here. 
  •  
  •                      I find the swing,
  • far off, of scales. The winning suit and trump
  • card in a game of spades. 
  •  
  •                        Today, the skies
  • are angled sides in the A-frame of this
  • big house we built and then forgot. And this
  • one cracking rafter, rotting, looks ok 
  • for now. But, later, it’s old wood all new
  • and gnarled. Later, knots are knees. There’s the swing
  • of a young girl’s legs. 
  •  
  •                       I’m telling Donald Trump,
  • today, the story of a woman. How the skies
  • came out of her wherever. Spacious skies.
  • Dark skies. Grown woman skies. Coalsack at this
  • time of the month is deep. That kind-of K
  • you see in Crux, that’s her. The bloody new
  • moon, her. Mister, you’re going to have to swing
  • a huge dick if you’re going to hit it. 
  •  
  •                              Trump
  • came out of triumph. Trump: to play a trump
  • on; win a trick.
  •  
  •                Tonight, I’m running skies
  • through my sewing machine, connecting this 
  • evening to morning, ironing on K
  • for force. I hang it on my windows, new
  • and needing blackout shades. 
  •  
  •                          Tonight, the swing 
  • of things. Tonight, 
  •  
  •                 if any world was new
  • ever. If Trump. Ok. If even this.
  • If swinging skies were spume preserved in amber. 

ERICA DAWSON is the author of two collections of poetry: The Small Blades Hurt (winner of the 2016 Poets' Prize) and Big-Eyed Afraid (winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize). She is the Director of the University of Tampa's Low-Residency MFA program and an associate professor of English and Writing.


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