The body happens
and we consequence up.
When I said I’d eat even
your baby fat, what I meant
was collect your meat
and deliver it to me, I’m tired
of chewing the same bones
day in and day out. Look me
in the eyes and stop being sad—
they just discovered the skull
of a mammoth in a pumpkin patch
a few miles from here.
As a boy I had a filling punched
out of my mouth. I found it
the next day in a tuft of onion grass
and tried to bite it back into my tooth.
The mammoth was a dumb beast,
all low forehead and too-close
eyes. The real world doesn’t care
about our spiritual conditions,
just asks that we be well
enough to smile at its clamor.
What can I do for you,
little vermin? Little casket
of gold? Milk splashes
into a bowl and coronates
itself with a crown of droplets.
I too have been trying to exalt
my own body, but there is no switch
to flip for this. I fumble toward grace
like a vine searching for a wall.
Any drunk can tell you willpower’s
useless, but that doesn’t stop us
from trusting it—the drowning
man surfaces three times
before sinking completely. Are you
going to finish that tongue, my love?
I’ll chew it up for you, spit it
down your throat. No blame
lies with the weak, with the steam
curling off the pot of hemlock
tea. God can always see us,
but he can especially see us now. You owe
me nothing anymore, you still-
twitching vein pulled from a neck,
you wiseblood, you wise new blood.
© Kaveh Akbar