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Amy King

The Sweat and Ocean of Eternal Devotion

A measure of all things is the same river
twice. On profiteering winds,
my very slender neck puts on a bulletproof vest.
We pass over people who classify ketchup
as a vegetable. I am wary of Truth,
the story other persons find truly convincing.
A fog raises baby from my hair
and I go as deep as death
only for the hairspray wearing clerics
who appear closer in the mirror behind you.

Geometrical Paint

I have been meal fed for years
including, it appears, I forgot or forgave her.
Francis Bacon eats his general memory of grass.
Not necessarily Prussian blue and black,
but a slice of it.
Approach a section of canvas
the tailor won’t replace.
If we walk the creamery divining milk,
cows will escape as subject.
Cinder and smoke leak from the visible seams
of an amber tan jacket where Picasso
painted a similar distance in glass.
On such pastoral background,l
int always returns to its last coat pocket.
Visitors included want something else to happen.
Thank you for smiling when you leave
thick addiction as sweet-milk names in jest.

Southern Folklore

No murderer knows what’s been prevented
at the end of a bandage at the end of a knife
at the end of blood and egg; these four questions
weave a net through which on every season,
a little rain suspends. Thread bears the weight.
A patchwork seamstress obeys it.
Her heavily-salted hips sigh nearby—
I know this truth before I spin it.
Almond butter would not taste so sweet and lie.
She gets up again in little bundles, and for
this charade, the prowler bares naked bones
and his hat of honor slices.
Meat becomes the marrow of dirt.
Through crust and dew of a frozen window,
she watches only her flower garden, crying.
She likes to watch death saunter in, crying.
She turns into silk for proof in the power of linen.
He dons his work-worn cape to stand near by
fallen bodies healing backwards, fully-woven.

Sixteen Things You Should Know

By the time I hide my middle name,
you’ll claim the first truth:
I live across the street from Citgo in Brooklyn.
Dead wood turns to curbside furniture;
legally-muscled butcher fingers
kosher flanks; bottled-water swaps
condensation for summer heat.
They found a capsized girl from Georgia
holding court on red clay ensconced
by her amber ego beneath my turban bonnet.
Since then, I will not make love
until I am in it.
I cage the dog’s bark in caffeinated lightning
as I lip-sync my first name when asked.
History never finds me nor finds me out
the same. You, in turn, might sing
along with the familiar world
and its inner tin-heart difference.

In Love With Someone Else

Ash blue Wednesday comes cold as a winter poem;
Love treads without name, everything becoming
just enough and then some. Swim in bottomless
bowls; a mind floats by its own capacity
just like the see-yourself steam tastes a pickled
heart’s beat. Pulled by Narcissus’ arms from
wetter caves, you roll your own tobacco clue.
Absently we scratch about our heads and hands
while reading the crushed velvet blue of first loves,
“For now I’ve dreamed skyways back to the arms
of a departed someone.” Who writes out espionage
with crushed grape seed pulp and dons a red clay
halo for turncoat restitution? I confess to God
religions use as their foot in the door, their shiny
steel smiles on this kingdom’s mantel, I confess
to shaking like a lost dog at the feel of nothing at
all against my skin, that this creamy absence could
pass on into pauses forever, ones atheists hesitate
but pray for nonetheless. Confronting, confounding,
night scratching seagulls lay peace in December’s
windless wake, that said generals might take position
upon the fields. An iceberg moves through blonde
anonymous. Check for its name on the belly of the
Check the white whale’s belly for her expiration date.

My Mother Was My Age Then

I’m fascinated by this woman with child
who has collaborated with one baby
today translating her ankle-length spirit
within us. That is,
a door opens enormously
wide both ways for the Americans
to filter in. All at once, rocket ships
shift into action, landing on the patio
fresh with my youth’s ancient wanderlust.
Mosquitoes and night moths fill
a party-toned room thick with smoke and dew.
Adults were split without a version of government.
Bud and Pabst cans captured the shag rug.
Even now there is a leader
who hops and hides among us.
The day I hoped to understand was the day
I backed out on the big bang.
I simply couldn’t take the stress.

On Studying Religious Nutritions

Once upon a time
a ten-toothed map
of hand-traced lisps
ate a blue-sectioned
diagram of hair and
disputing factions
of nature in which
war isn’t over
there filling its
own background
of proverbs—it sits
throbbing on a plate
between the peas &
Yukon gold potatoes.
It makes up a face
within a face of
delicate lace meat
steaming in baskets to
each consumer’s liking.
The wizard behind the
battle-table cinches
his own sashes and
window treatments.
He cares less for open
forks and wrenches,
removable metal legs.
Carefully the knife
cut the lamb into strings
of tied-up tendons:
milk the butter
to bed please
passover bread


Amy King’s ebook, The Citizen's Dilemma, is available at Duration Press. Her chapbook, The People Instruments, won the Pavement Saw Press award in 2002. Amy teaches English at Nassau Community College.

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