This Is Not a Gen­tle Poem

New England Review - - Investigations -

The larynx, pinched pli­ers. The mouth a pur­ple feather.

A cir­cle of mush­rooms, the heart; smashed glass, the smile, lit­tered

along chain­link. You cat­a­logue the world this way; that is to say,

the man you learned to unlove taught you your­self, a new bla­zon:

an­kles as han­dle­bars, the face a plate to lick clean. Breasts

un­com­pro­mis­ing as bruises. Do you re­gret the breath you lost

here, the fran­tic skin on car­pet? Look to your hand be­come a gun.

Run away on two rusted nails and lis­ten to the con­crete cry out be­neath you.

Michelle Peñaloza

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