[a flower, a novice, and an in­fil­trate]

The Iowa Review - - JOYELLE MCSWEENEY -

a flower, a novice, and an in­fil­trate, I’ll die not like a princess but a spy, be­hind a spray of camel­lias or ord­nance. I’m an asp in the bunker, a rogue con­trac­tor, I cause dis­or­der in the dec­i­mals and quo­tients. Like a star, I gut­ter and di­vide in the knocked-up galaxy’s gut, I flap my fe­tal gills and fail to thrive. As epi­ge­netic code re­mem­bers trauma, as et­y­mol­ogy carts the lode of em­pire in its wake, as an epicenic hus­tler hides an ap­ple in his throat, you bear my trace. When I shot you point-blank, you wore the mark of my Ta­clite. And when I hung you from the bridge, alight, your limbs con­tracted in the at­ti­tude of flight.

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