Rachel Galvin

ONE SUGAR OR TWO

A woman tells me that in Chicago
some urban farmers have such a surplus of eggs
they don’t even barter, they just give them away 

On the table are sesame-seed breakfast pastries
served alongside a Dutch baby 
made of six eggs, eight tablespoons of butter
a little flour, a little milk, a pinch of nutmeg
right out of the oven

Give me a piece of that baby, she says
Put some hot sauce on that Dutch baby, she says

I’m reminded of a man in Vermont pulling a stillborn sheep
out from its moaning mother

The one born alive has cords wrapped around it
spindly legs that seem impossible
but within a week
the lamb is playing king of the mountain
atop a heap of dung 

Sheepskin on the sofa, sheepskin on the floor

I think of my friend’s poem about the futility
of writing poems about birthing animals
about pulling anything from death into life

Kids before guns, the teenager yells into the mic
to a crowd of half a million at the capital

A gun without bullets is sold out of a truck for $200
to pay for dinner
With bullets, you can get dessert

We don’t actually need assault weapons to kill deer
explains a child hunter

In an email I receive
someone describes bells without tongues
in a poem about the massacre at Sandy Hook

This morning high school students across the country
walked out to protest gun violence
while at the same moment
a man walked into a Florida high school
and shot a student

In Florida almost all manatees bear scars from boat propellers
One is nicknamed No Tail
Everyone is especially sad when a boat kills a manatee
that has what they call a milk-dependent baby 


RACHEL GALVIN is associate professor at University of Chicago. Her books include Elevated Threat LevelPulleys & Locomotion, and Decals: Complete Early Poetry of Oliverio Girondo (translated with Harris Feinsod). Her translation of Queneau’s Hitting the Streets won the Scott Moncrieff Prize. A translation of Alejandro Albarrán’s Cowboy & Other Poems is forthcoming this fall.


Issue Six
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