Two New Poems

Do You Want To Dip The Rat


Do you want to dip the rat

Completely in oil


Do you want to dip the rat

Before we eat it eat it


Do you want to dip the rat

Completely in oil


Before we eat it


Tender tender meat

Like pork shoulder


A hundred traps set

Eighty hanging in a row to be broiled


With you

I’d take it raw


Tiny pink feet

Glistening with oil


Legs and feet

Glistening with oil


Matted fur and face

Weighted down with oil


Everything in oil

But the teeth are shiny clean


No what I really want to know

Before you open that mouth again


Should we completely dip the rat in oil

Before we eat it eat it


Should we completely

Dip the rat in oil


Before we eat it




The Nurse Said


The nurse said

To swallow

The brown pills first



Then the blue

Then she said to take the blue

And throw them on the floor



And stamp stamp

Stamp hard

She said



Outside the thunder is very rough

What is the sun if not an ending

You and the other people



When you split from the man in the poem


Nothing sadder than that



Nothing sadder than that

Had ever happened to me

I cried and cried



But it was silent

Like spring tears

Like some sort of spring green



Civil law

Is tender

It’s tender like the skin



Like the skin

Come too soon

Like the pink skin with blood



But my blood grew

But my blood

Grew in you



You were so green

Now you are so blue

The nurse said



Eat the yellow ones

I eat the sun

And my face is not afraid



Do you hear me

I am not afraid

I’ve fought this long



You will not





You sweet, sweet one

Sweet and tender

Like pork shoulder




Sweet and gone

Lips pursed in a ribbon



is the author of four full-length collections of poetry: ROME (Liveright/W. W. Norton), as well as Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE. She has also written several chapbooks, including Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Ducking Presse, 2010). Her writing has appeared in POETRY, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, and Boston Review, among other places. She is a co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney’s, 2013). She is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and lives in New York City.



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