Roach

By ELIZABETH METZGER 

The quickness of living.
The quickness of wanting to kill something.
Forget dreams, they attack me and
I welcome their landings.
Kiss me again without being asked
or asking if I do love 
as a gas mask filled with all our unsayable
thoughts. I don’t know 
how to possess an exoskeleton,
earth kitchen, their shiny
brown god’s house, guts hollowed.
I don’t know
what marriage means at 2am
with six or seven roaches vying
for my mouth, and other
openings. If someone handed me a
microscope I might wake up.
A microphone I might stop
and listen. If you’re not breathing 
on your own 
by the middle of this lifetime
it isn’t worth the privilege of lifting 
your feet. I made you. I make to lay myself 
out like a sticky trap
safe if safe the exterminator says
they are checking 
out the new smell of our baby
in the holy sliver where 
our bodies don’t touch. 
I don’t think he would hurt them 
now that he understands 
them. I don’t think you would 
hurt me though I’ve killed you 
so many times either. 

 

Elizabeth Metzger is the author ofThe Spirit Papers, winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry, and the chapbookThe Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.Her poems have recently appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The American Poetry Review, and The Nation, among other places. Her essays have recently appeared in Lit Hub, Guernica, Boston Review, and PN ReviewShe is the poetry editor of  The Los Angeles Review of Books’ Quarterly Journal.

[Purchase Issue 17 here.]

Roach

Related Posts

poetry feature image

January 2021 Poetry Feature: Bruce Bond

BRUCE BOND
I was just another creature crawling from the mausoleum, / and I thought, so this is it, the place in the final chapter / where I am judged for all my cruelties, blunders, failures of attention, / and I waited for the furies to take me, or some such host. / But it was just another morning.

Sky full of comets

Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia

MARIANGELA GUALTIERI
And he soars / saved, outstretched / untouched by the gravity that pins us / down / we deserters of empty spaces and heights / shadows cast / into modest taverns for a bite. / Heads in capitals / of rust. / A lifetime annuity of darkness. / Only a cry can save us now.

poetry feature image

December 2020 Poetry Feature: Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison

DENISE DUHAMEL
Where was I / when I was 20? I’d already been accepted / as an exchange student, taking my first plane ride / to London where I’d catch a train / to Wales. On that first flight, I sat next to a woman / in a shawl—how old was she? It’s hard to say.