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

Gabriella Fee

June 2022 Poetry Feature: Gabriella Fee

GABRIELLA FEE
Death springs from me like a hothouse flower. / My mother swaddles me in terrycloth / and vigils me for three days in her bed. / Pillbox. Rice and lentils. Kettle. Psalm. / She dims the lights as though I were a moth. / She combs my hair.

Image of Zhang Qiaohui and Yilin Wang's headshots.

Translation: “Soliloquy” by Zhang Qiaohui

ZHANG QIAOHUI
You know where Grandma is buried, but do not know / where Grandma’s Grandma is / Jiaochang Hill’s graves have long been displaced, now covered with lush greenery / In the mortal world, a saying, “to have no resting place even after death” / I stand at the old burial ground.

Tree

May 2022 Poetry Feature

By ELIZABETH METZGER
For now, let us choose not to remember / who said History repeats as Tragedy then Farce, / and who else / repeated such nonsense / with variations because, friends, allow me / to be pedantic, just this moment. History repeats / as Tragedy more than once.