Poem for July 7

July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

(Note: this concludes the serialization of Kara Candito’s poem that began in the blog entry for July 3.)

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

9. Escape Velocity

I’m not good in school, so I make lists
in my head to pass the time: seven sounds
skipping stones make; eight ways to pop

poison ivy blisters; what I’d like to do
to her. But then I get a hard-on big
as the eraser the kiss-asses clap on the steps.

I don’t ask questions. I don’t believe in
happy endings. My friend’s mother died
of TB and now his father keeps his sister

inside all day, afraid she might run away.
At night, when my parents fight, I stay
pressed to the television. The newscaster

says there are hostages in Iran. What keeps
us here?
 I asked her once in late spring,
the grass still sun-warmed under our feet.

Alone in my bed, I swear I can hear them
breaking the horses, their high, human cries.
Dark barns no one claims to own.

10. In Girum Imus Nocte Es Consumimur Igni

My two cousins, convex, colorless in
the blank T.V.screen, squint at my back.
One carved his own initials into his arm

and has to wear long sleeves all summer.
You’re supposed to use a girl’s his sister says,
scowling in pink makeup, thick like a second face.

One night, I throw eggs at her Trans Am
and blame the neighbors. One night, her
brother ties one end of a rope around

the stump of an elm. Ties the other end around
his neck. Runs hard until it snaps.
I admire this. It moves like strong wind

into my secret life. It spins the weathervane
pitched in the flattened fortress of my brain.
It stirs the air behind my eyes. Awake now,

I roll down the hill beside the river.
Gravity, it grinds my bones.
Time saws off. Nothing here,

but truth and hot.

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

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