OF ALL THE THINGS A BODY MIGHT BECOME
An anvil, a bottle of bleach, a basketball—yours becomes a container, the kind you might receive at the holidays, filled with shortbread or caramel corn. So hard to get the lid off, youíd ask for help, or crack a sweat in the pantry to sneak a sweet treat.
They made good banks, the canisters, safe-keeping cylinders. You filled yours with matchbooks, a lipstick, feathers, broken broaches, an arrowhead, a camisole your mother threw out, the tiniest conch youíd ever found, a prayer card from your great-grandmotherís funeral.
The man hushes you, his fingers trail your jaw as he tries to pry you open. He works on one side then shimmies the other. You feel a blast of cool air along your insides as soon as he cracks the lid. He takes a book of matches, fingers each one and pockets the pack.
No one notices at the multiplex cinema. Your vest and bow tie donít fit anymore. Your manager warns you: Please wear your uniform tomorrow. This is the last time Iím going to ask.
After work, the man asks you to come with him. Thereís a party. His friends are there. Heíd like you to meet his friends. Youíre in his car. Youíre in the living room of his friendsí apartment.
They put on some music. You feel the rush of air down the length of your body.
To take the arrowhead from one manís palm. To singe their fingers or faces with each match struck. To recite The Lordís Prayer, as if it were a curse. This is the last time Iím going to ask.
AFTER KILLING THOUSANDS OF ANGELS
The girl is tired, blood-soaked. She wonders
if she should leave them in the streets. So many
feathers, the severed bones.
How did no one hear her last night? How is it
the birds still sing this morning?
She didnít want to kill the angels,
had watched the procession from her window,
If she could just catch one.
Sheíd wait on the roof. She practiced:
Hello, you must be hungry/thirsty,
can I get you something? Where are you going?
But the angels didnít stop, they fluttered past,
wings arching like branches,
cold white faces interrupting the sky.
The girl grew angry, tossed stones first,
then pieces of loose roof tiles.
She stole silverware from the kitchen,
launched forks and spoons and knives,
missed every time. Hey, the girl called,
hey! Fuck you, she said and started to cry.
When does a girl learn to make a fist?
Emari DiGiorgio is Associate Professor of Writing at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and a visiting Poet-in-the-Schools through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Dodge Foundation. Her poems have appeared in a variety of literary journals, including Calyx, DIAGRAM, Feminist Studies, The Marlboro Review, Poetry International, RHINO, and Switched-on Gutenberg. She also makes a mean arugula quesadilla.
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