Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol.21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Ars Poetica

Let’s say that a sixteen-year-old girl gets up on stage in a knit brown hat and shares a poem about a boy she’s trying to not love too much and the crowd instead of shaming her back under the collar of her shirt roars and asks for more. Let’s say that this was exactly the moment I needed to believe in the truth again. I had testified in court to say my father beat us. Truth. I helped jail the parent I still loved in secret. Truth.

Let’s say the night before I had swallowed sixty-four Advils, no one finding me when I took the rattling bottle from the cabinet or downed the first twenty, counting and swallowing two by two like my mouth was Noah’s ark. I wake up alone on the bathroom floor some hours later, a stew of red pills half dissolved around my head. I clean it up, dizzy, still unfound.

Let’s say the girl in the knit hat was honest without it costing her something she couldn’t replant, that letting us see the mutant her words made of love helped her kiss the doorway of a church. Let’s suppose poetry is not about turning your hunched back into an altar, not about turning pieces of shell back into an egg, but yes, in fact, a way to kiss a shard and maybe, swallow it to see what your body can survive.  

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