Poem for July 5

July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

(Note: the following poem is being serialized over the next several days’ worth of blog posts, two parts of the poem per day. It will conclude with parts 9 and 10 in the July 7th entry.)

Epic Poem Concerning the Poet’s Coming of Age as Attis

5. Family Romance that Ends with the Suspension of Habeas Corpus

My father pushes his plate to the center
of the table. My sister and mother clear
while my brother slumps in his chair

like Hank Williams. I sneak upstairs
into my sister’s room, crouch in the closet.
There are roller skates, too many pairs of shoes,

the smell of school. She walks in and slips
a pink sweater over her head. She is
as beautiful as Nepal, as all of my secrets.

Every night, I watch her; my sister touching
her tits in front of the mirror to see if
they’ve grown. My ass hurts from her heels.

Why do I watch her? Worship is the word
my mother used once. That was before.
One night, they catch me. It’s funny, really–

my father beating me for wanting to fuck
my sister. He cannot say, Son, I know you
want to fuck your sister
. After this, I look

at naked magazines. But, every night before
I fall asleep, I see her. My love stuck inside
the body of my sister, curled like smoke

from a bashful chimney. My beautiful girl
waiting, wanting me. She doesn’t know yet
the shape of my face in the dark.

6. Etymology

For a while, I like how words open and close
inside my mouth. Scabs in crook of knee,
crook of elbow. They break open when I’ve

forgotten about them. Brave and red,
made of what we hide. Words bleeding
out onto the dry, brown lawn.

-Kara Candito, from Taste of Cherry (University of Nebraska Press, 2009)


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