I’ll pluck you from my mouth like an apple seed

It was incredibly difficult for me to choose just one poem from Calling A Wolf a Wolf, by the Iranian-American poet and founder/editor of DivedapperKaveh Akbar. If you want to feel utterly unzipped by tenderness and torment, get your hands (and eyes) on this collection.

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“EVERYTHING THAT MOVES IS ALIVE AND A
THREAT–A REMINDER”

Everything that moves is alive and a threat–a reminder
to be as still as possible. Devastation occurs

whether we’re paying attention or not. The options: repair
a world or build a new one. Like the belled cat’s

frustrated hunt, my offer to improve myself
was ruined by the sound it made. How do I look today,

better or worse than a medium-priced edible
arrangement? I am sealing all my faults with platinum

so they’ll glean like the barrel of a laser gun. Astronomy: the luminosity
of Venus reminds me to wear orange in the woods. Nobody

ever pays me enough attention. I’ve spent my whole adult life
in a country where only my parents can pronounce my name.

Please, spare me your attempts; I’m a victim of my own
invention. The desire to help others is a kind of symmetry,

an eccentricity of our species like blushing, gold teeth, and life
after children. I don’t worry myself with what my doctor said

before he burst into flames. I just eat his wet blue pills,
stay emotionless as a fig. Muscle memory: a heart

calls for you by name. Come to bed with me, you honest thing–
let’s break into science. I’ll pluck you from my mouth

like an apple seed, weep with you over other people’s lost pets.
The strangeness between us opens like a pinhole on the open floor:

in floods a fishing boat, a Chinese seabird, an entire galaxy
of starfish. We are learning so much so quickly. The sun

is dying. The atom is reducible. The god-harnesses
we thought we came with were just our tiny lungs.

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