Barbed Wire Nest

They are dropping smart bombs on the glue factory.
They are sending saber-toothed drones into the bakery.
They are inseminating the migrant seamstress
And repopulating the mountain states
With mutant jackals and polyethylene waterfalls.
They are selling our skin cells to the cosmetic surgeons.
They are dismembering nude mannequins
And stacking the spikey limbs in the courtyard
So you can climb the pile and peek over the barbed wire
For a glimpse at the newly upholstered boardroom
Where they are declawing the help staff
And drafting the bill to outlaw the law.
They plan to kick us with steel-tipped boots
Then they’ll stuff us with arsenic and gag us
With clumps of hot tar. They’ll assassinate the cartoonists
And fuck each other on hardbacks in the library
Before incinerating the archives with antique flamethrowers.
They’ll arm the snowmen with Uzis
And bury the bookkeeper under the mossy rocks
In the backyard with the beekeeper
And the beehive’s desiccated hull.
They’ll take a breath, have a smoke,
And paint our eyelids shut with golden honey—
So while I still have a face inside my face
I try to look at them with the most objective eye
And hold the breath inside my breath
Until a flood of light washes over my body
And when the body has been consumed
The server brings back my debit card
And the thin slip of paper and the almost inkless pen
And when I turn to sign the paper
The strap of my dress falls over my shoulder.
The pendant nest suspends the breeze.
The flower in the vase swirls out of itself.




Nathan Hoks’ books include Reveilles (Salt, 2010) and The Narrow Circle (Penguin, 2013), which Dean Young selected for the 2012 National Poetry Series.  He currently teaches poetry writing as a lecturer at the University of Chicago, and Convulsive Editions, a micro-press that produces handmade editions of chapbooks and broadsides.





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  1. Pingback: Table of Contents, Issue 14 | Matter

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