Poetry by Kimberly Swendson

Plead, Then Calcify

In a landscape populated with backwards kidneys you say,
     “Sugar on top.”     Off in the distance, a pile of dogs whimpers

There are two options
for your remains: I will either
     feed them to two emaciated lions or
     a great wave of sand will crash and fill every space between your bones,
     burying you so completely that it takes faithless archaeologists seven years to
     find and subject you to the largest mausoleum in Syracuse

Keep in mind your great milkless body.
Keep in mind my voice is not the voice calling you from the other side.
Keep in mind our entire rendering,
the fact that baby fat holds
no weight here

To give you time, I begin to consider all the ways I become implicit and implicated. What inheritance of mine makes such violence inherit.

I am giving your body a chance to set.

     “Take what you can get.”

Batter voices butter you up as you take off. The dogs cling hard to my deep voice and chant
“Run for me naked. Run. Run. Run for me naked. Run. Run. Run for me naked. Run.”

In a Startling Moment of Clarity, Opus Looks Down, Finds Corpus

Old noises
meet you gradually in a sunrise. Rise.
You are not peaceful enough to stay.
A pile of Magic picks up your bags while
everyone dies and
everyone dies again

This old cry shakes the new ground.
Listen to the spectacle
like a broken ear dragged home

You see Seldom
pluck her children
from little piles of grass and place
a translated tab on each of their tongues

Each falls busy beside you
     “After all this
     “Who could want peace

You turn your eyes up
at the seam
to see a skin
on every wall


Corpus marches on to find a waterfall
in reverse. Call me home
with such casual speed O darling
know just how to speak
a good thing out of existence.

Together we find a third
man dug half deep. We calmly say:
     “To cite a poem into the air is a dying trade.”
A black wasp stings my neck,
this body is ground and ground
parts are unfused.
This, our most beloved cryptid,
so good
at marking where I fall.

When I land
voices cry out:
     “Nobody’s been buried yet
     “Will you stay long
     “Don’t mind that
     “It’s just milk

Kimberly Swendson

Twitter: @grit_companion

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