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 of The Spirit Papers, winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry, and the chapbook The 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 Review. She is the poetry editor of The Los Angeles Review of Books’ Quarterly Journal.