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.

I have learned to crawl backward into the wilderness

Rachael McKibbens’ new collection blud was not an easy read in the best sense; it is, as its very name suggests, nakedly intense and beautiful.

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salvage

I have learned to need the body
I spent years trying to rid the world of

have learned to cherish its pale rebel hymn
warped by ghost heat, carried, carried

by all my loyal dead. I have learned
to crawl backward into the wilderness

to ask, to eat, to steep in your gentleness.
Let this be where I permit forgiveness

to know your name, to leave our crulest years
where & how we need them most–

behind & unlit.

It’s how I discovered this kind of hunger.

There’s so much going on in this breathless, breathtaking prose poem from Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib‘s collection The Crown Ain’t Worth MuchGive yourself time to read it slowly, and then once more.

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“DUDES, WE DID NOT GO THROUGH
THE HASSLE OF GETTING THESE
FAKE IDS FOR THIS JUKEBOX TO
NOT HAVE ANY SPRINGSTEEN”

& and it is the end of another summer where I have slept on my couch
for days only allowing another body to interrupt long enough for
our limbs to tangle like weeds up the side of a brick house,
reaching for something impossible. I promise there have always
been dishes spilling out of the sink, love. It’s how I discovered this
kind of hunger. Last week, Rick lit a cigarette & yelled across the
bar that the only difference between smoking & kissing someone
who smokes is the way mouths collide before death sits in your
lungs like an abandoned city & everyone laughed while I tried to
wipe another’s lip gloss from my cheek. Most people I know
cannot sleep until they crawl though someone else’s hollow.
There are nights when I wish we were all still children, but then
again, I suppose we may be or at least there is no other way to
explain how we make every doorway our own. The way we stain
ourselves & anything else that moves. The way we scream into
the dark like a siren & the weeping, yet another thing we never
mention in the morning. I think I am starting to vanish slowly
from head to toe. There are ten different ways to say sunset. The
bartender says my face is wearing all of them.