By Evie Shockley
when the cultivators of corpses are busy seeding
plague across vast acres of the land, choking schools
and churches in the motley toxins of grief, breeding
virile shoots of violence so soon verdant even fools
fear to tread in their wake :: when all known tools
of resistance are clutched in the hands of the vile
like a wilting bouquet, cut from their roots, while
the disempowered slice smiles across their own faces
and hide the wet knives in writhing thickets of hair
for future use :: when breathing in the ashen traces
of dreams deferred, the detonator’s ticking a queer
echo that amplifies instead of fading :: when there-
you-are is where-you-were and the sunset groans
into the atlantic, setting blue fire to dark white bones.
"the way we live now ::" from semiautomatic by Evie Shockley © 2017 by Evie Shockley. Published by Wesleyan University Press. Used by permission.
More By This Poet
on new year’s eve
we make midnight a maquette of the year:
frostlight glinting off snow to solemnize
the vows we offer to ourselves in near
silence: the competition shimmerwise
of champagne and chandeliers to attract
laughter and cheers: the glow from the fireplace
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My brother still bites his nails to the quick,
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So much hurt is forgotten with the horizon
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A wishbone branch falls
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What do you know about magic? e1 asks.
E bends e old body down, turns
the wishbone branch into
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I am strapped at the Black River’s right shoulder,
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if time is queer/and memory is trans/and my hands hurt in the cold/then
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it hurts like never when the always is now,
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there is no manner of tomorrow, nor shape of today
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We thought the birds were singing louder. We were almost certain they
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