“Clay” by Taylor Supplee

Taylor Supplee


Let’s give him a hard birth and shit in the womb,
one blue eye, the other green
and an odd way of blending light.
Let’s give him crooked teeth and braces later
because even we
can admit mistakes.

Let’s give him two siblings and trying parents,
a mother who slices potatoes,
her jaw working the sawing motion and a father imagined
from steel-mill shavings.
Let’s give him space
and smother him with second-hand,
his own moon a streetlamp
to keep him up at night.
Let’s give him an affinity for wandering off
and Amber Alerts,
the officer’s name who drifts beside him down the train tracks.

Let’s give him a knotted sheet and a Jesus in his pocket,
our same drunk father and red hair because fuck him.
Let’s give him nothing. Let’s give him lost,
a compass and no poles,
a vision, bleached irises, a woman without.
Let’s take
his bones so he’ll collapse and worm around,
his pillows and the rope we’ve already given,
everything we weren’t ever given.

Let’s take a breath and fire the kiln.
Let’s give him a pitcher’s arm,
and a father who might show up, a nose collapsed from a fastball,
and a silent aneurism.
The Selenicereus blooms
at his twilit windowsill nailed shut.
Let’s give him bricks and a ladder his father left out, the hammer
tossed back in the neighbor’s bushes.
Let’s give him wax
and watch him mold candles.

from Rattle #44, Summer 2014


Taylor Supplee: “I write poetry because I want to create something more honestly human than myself.” (web)

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