Poetry | March 01, 2008
Poetry Feature: Christina Hutchins
Featuring the poems:
- Confessions of a Tactile Kleptomaniac
- A Way Back to Life
- A Traveler is Met By Shapes of the World
- Interregnum [featured as Poem of the Week, July 29, 2008]
I was born wizened. Rasp of first breath,
I took the tinders of my parents’ gazes and flinted
a honeyed flame. Before knowledge of cake or wood,
before even I was plated with a name, there were
cracklings and pleasings, wetly offered smiles and gasp :
I was old.
I took my place and a heat
leapt up, not mine,
but I tended it.
Drinklings, we are born to this necessity. To help. Helpless,
we snort the atmosphere, lunge toward milk, love. Eyes clouded,
lungs dewy with night, we emerge from the close cabin rocking
to a day already underway. Once I was emperor
of a body not my own, yet I craved the broken levee.
Haven, if it is haven, gives.
The swimmer passes
her piped body toward
the sting of light.
Ever after, the tear ducts remember. There was a beach
belonged to my mother’s and my father’s Sundays. We walked there.
Sometimes I was between them, holding both their young hands.
Then she turned old and he was infirm,
rotting from within. I was the shunt of wreckage,
yellow-blue flame, versicoloured
mermaid of the rocks,
for the abyss.
One by one, I took from my fingertips the limpet shells
I had worn like small roofs over touch. I stacked them, so many
tunics on the beach. My cinder cones.
Plum-hot the anvil, lava, the volcano’s rise, ours
is a sky of yellow crumb and ash. Amorphous, still I am consuming,
yea and nay, and consumed,
but shaken loose: empress
of undertone, perilous foam,
creek in its natal dark.
If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member at an institution whose library subscribes to Project Muse, you can read this piece and the full archives of the Missouri Review for free. Check this list to see if your library is a Project Muse subscriber.
Want to read more?Subscribe Today
SEE THE ISSUE
Mar 02 2021
Poems: Teresa Ott
Trembling Was All Living, Living Was All Loving, Some One Was Then the Other One In the amniotic gloss of the past, feathers floated to the surface, then flew away.
Mar 02 2021
Poems: John Gallaher
Division (Architecture 5) Let’s watch the process one more time. During the first stage of mitosis, prophase, we see the classic chromosome structure. Notice the DNA condensing. Outside, my neighbor
Dec 11 2020
Poems: Jamaica Baldwin
Forbidden Let me go back to my father in the body of my mother the day he told her, Having black children won’t save you when the revolution comes.