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3 Poems || Lightsey Darst


Mystery of the pregnant man
 
 
For at least eighty minutes in Magnolia Mississippi I sat curled inside my
dead mother as she lay on the kitchen floor. She’d been chopping onions.
 
Dear world, you leave us such strange clues to draw conclusions from: a rudimentary
beating heart, mad sack of face, nine perfect toes on one cleft foot. But how should we
 
bury this—blew a tooth out of his nose, & to our surprise & horror, someone’s inside
this man who comes complaining of a stomach pain. But not someone: we tried
 
to ask or name it, but its one eye wouldn’t blink, so we stowed it, no cure,
in formaldehyde for our new museum. Flourish of flesh, cellular smile—a bone spur,
 
we told him. But late nights, it whispers to me, “With this instrument, I see right through
your dull ordinary. Three thumbs are better than two, love is stronger than hate, inside you,
 
abnormal growth started at the age of ten, following a grave dream. He is still growing,
entirely rotten & hollow inside, the glittering cyst contains a primitive mind
 
that tells you what to do, but it doesn’t matter: who is without a flaw?
You know life can be different than it is—the world is good & filled
 
with good people & most of them doing good deeds why then should we not
all smile & be happy?” Persistent infection in her brain. Shut down by the Humane Society
 
 

Smashed diamond
You’re feeling like a slightly heightened version of yourself.

 
 
____________________
Debriefing the survivors
 
 
Want to ask you a question, show you my face. Want to ask you to show a face a
“Don’t be afraid to be human” face “but I think of myself as deeply faceted like a
 
hope topaz show me your don’t be afraid to be” [surely I shall be holy when I’m only
dust] “We couldn’t get nothing out, just ourselves, our house jet
 
& garnet, lintels eaves flashings falling, “I’ll never
forget one death. Well they may make it, but some of them may not—
 
miracle our fatalities & injuries were that low (“praise plasma”) heard
it creaking, making noise it shouldn’t make, and then it just started falling
 
apart. I would start at the foundation: root gnawed through.
But relax. And if you’re still here, smile. It means someone’s looking out for you.
 
 

Look out: bridge on the move
It’s a diamond in the rough.

 
 
______________________
Dance dude
 
Once upon a time,
The crime.
 
What are you looking at? fury.
Fastenings come undone—lighthouse not lit—this hour a fake &
 
oil slicks our ocean, the community destroys its common interest ounce by ounce,
so you must cease to be afraid
 
of coyotes, desert sounds. I wish none of this had ever happened,
losing their damn minds, he put a handgun to my head, scared, held
 
a silver penknife to your throat, bled, but no one injured, police said
terrified. “I don’t know how to prevent, I don’t know
 
how many times I stabbed her & I don’t know why I stabbed her,” no something is
happening, no [sleep with cleavers] lord,
 
we’re being robbed of something here”—
while pearly everlasting, the mortician’s flower, smiles rotlessly back at you.
 
[like the smell] [hell
is a place where they bring you drinks”
 
Archways that fall apart as you pass through. You see, nothing
really is as good as it looks, leave the groceries on the counter, boy, I’m tired.
 
But still I don’t know”—your sister’s death
in her garage, causes scatter like crows at a stone.
 
You must read the annals of the anarchist—nothing else
does justice to this year
 
 

Man opens fire at church festival in California
Cactus. Need to keep others away for various reasons. Feeling old. Feeling odd.

 
 
____________________
Lightsey Darst writes, dances, writes about dance and other arts, and teaches. Her books are Find the Girl and the forthcoming DANCE (both Coffee House Press). Her poetic work appears in Typo, Spork, and Diagram. Her criticism is online at mnartists.org, The Huffington Post, and Bookslut.