Poem of the Day: Diane Seuss

by | Nov 7, 2015 | Poem of the Day Series, Reading




It takes your bones to bed,
tongues out the marrow.
Says it will meet you halfway,
a hotel deep in Oklahoma
where you’ll get adjoining rooms
and have a couple of nervous
breakdowns. It’s a no-show, waylaid.
It orders the venison sausage,
the lamb, the infant in puff
pastry, picks its pretty white
teeth with the pins from your little
sister’s hair. Churns you till you
congeal, till the cream goes hard,
courts you till you’ve got a hard-on,
bangs your machine with its hips till you tilt,
your flippers frozen. Your heart’s a tilt-a-whirl,
throwing off steam into the frigid night,
spinning heartsick, heartbreak.
It dances close with its hands
on your nipples, immaculately conceives you
and runs off with the kid in the night,
wears five watches on each arm, pillaged
from your ancestors, innocent and burned,
wrestles with your mother, gets your father
to confess his infidelities at Sunday dinner,
puts its fist in the cake, picks the buttercream
crucifixes off the hot cross buns,
teaches brother to piss his name into the snow,
shaves his head, needles him till he’s tattooed.
It grows gorgeous on its deathbed,
rises gloriously to the occasion,
wills you its curls, its secret codes,
licks your fingerprints like a creamy cat,
dies with the grace of the curtain-pull at the golden opera,
clasps its hands, kisses Jesus on the lips, its body
lit from within like a fawnskin lampshade.
And all you want to do is revive it. You’ll write
circles around it, half-assed parables halfway told,
with bandaged hands, with all the bones
in your face showing, by god,
you’ll make a religion of it.


—from Diane Seuss’ It Blows You Hollow, New Issues Poetry and Prose (1998)