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POETRY

Hunger Meditation

by Amie Whittemore

 
I want the open door laughter makes.
 
Your mouth, a hive bereft of bees.
 
I kiss. I string the humming.
 

 
Here, the fearful backstage:
 
costumes stripped, lighting hollow.
 
Here is where someone’s hidden
 
the knives and the wind.
 

 
If we were to leave—if we were
 
to make a bed of sand dune
 
from this shabby stagecraft
 
from these lines, un-memorized—
 

 
I want the open door grief makes.
 
My mouth a nest of eggs, chipped.
 
You kiss. You guide the threading.

 

Ode to the Half-Male, Half-Female Cardinal

Praise be to social media for winging
 
                    you to me, O chimera, O paradox,
 
O symbol of this century where gender
 
                is a threadbare shirt no one likes anymore,
 
            but we can’t quite throw off—O rogue, O provocateur,
 
O whimsy—sometimes mistakes
 
              are beautiful your half-scarlet ensemble reminds me.
 
Reports suggest you’ve found a partner
 
                who finds your prismatic garments enticing
 
and that your left ovary
 
            might function so someday your young will call
 
you mother and father,
 
              call you Allegory, Union, Blend, Foil. Call you Coin,
 
Switch, Duple, Fusion, Songless: you sing only for yourself.
 
My heart knows
 
            it can slough gender like feathers—
 
still, it envies the way your outfit disrobes you
 
              of expectations, like paint
 
                        freckling a mirror.

Amie Whittemore
Amie Whittemore is the author of the poetry collection Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press) and the 2020 Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Her poems have won multiple awards, including a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and her poems and prose have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Nashville Review, Smartish Pace, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She is the Reviews Editor for Southern Indiana Review and teaches English at Middle Tennessee State University.
Submit your work! Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, seeks high quality submissions from both emerging and established writers. We publish craft essays and interviews as well as fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and we want to see your best work, regardless of form, style, or subject matter. We read general submissions from May 15 - August 15 and from March 15 - April 30 for our ProForma Contest.

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