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By VIRGINIA KONCHAN

 

There is no enough in exile.
I am accustomed to eventless days.
Funny thoughts slide into the head alone
on the interstate: I thought you were dead,
for example. Be kind to the body, stranger
that it is. Matter at odds with materialism:
I’m done perishing beneath weeping willows.
I need a salt lick, a fiefdom, a mylar balloon.
O to be nude and happy.
O to be Russian and asleep.
Carve me a wooden idol, already:
break my orbital, I mean occipital bone.
How to want what I can’t have all the time?
I’m tired of absence, and also of sameness.
The soul gets into the habit of its dreams.
Begging isn’t sexy, a friend reminds me.
But there is one kiss that never ends—
it lights up around your mouth.
Plausible god, god of rapture:
I am the dumb brute in the stable,
more idiot homewrecker than savant,
amorously wrecking my own shadow.
You are a shard of pulverized crystal,
the last known trace of Victoriana,
mercuric atom resigned to desire.
What human could stay so quiet?
One who is secretly on fire.

 

[Purchase Issue 21 here.]

 

Virginia Konchan is the author of two poetry collections, Any God Will Do and The End of Spectacle; a collection of short stories, Anatomical Gift; and four chapbooks, and is the co-editor (with Sarah Giragosian) of Marbles on the Floor: How to Assemble a Book of Poems. Her creative and critical work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Believer, Boston Review, and elsewhere.

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White women give my father shaded looks./ Bringing babies to do their dirty work,/ mumbled in passing. // I am paid in jelly doughnuts / for my day on the boycott. // My dad leads my baby brother / to the front of the grocery store doors / for a meeting with the manager.