Nina Puro, Two poems

“Take Your Place, Ladies”


I take my fear for a walk around the neighborhood / before the thunderhead
rolls down. Rip the silk / of night from night, wrap the silk around a coin

with the face of the king / for cream in morning. / You float / dahlias in water,
fill the arms / of the yard / with orange blossoms and static.
My face is this object / I carry around everywhere I go

and I’m starting to not mind this. / How much of me is not
a man. / How weak is any part of a woman

trying to speak. I hold a candle safely / in my body.
I hold a rainstorm / safely in my mouth. / Too often, when I finish
eating, I’m sad because I can’t keep eating. I have / this thing called agency. You have

this thing called privilege. We both know / which king’s checked and which of us
is a rook. Your birdsong / and geography are meaningless. Empty

the dish drain for once. I mean road / when I say pray. I mean road
when I say window. I mean you / when I say road. What shape
does a year make? What skin does a / year change? How perfect his white

hands were in the dream. / I sleep the deepest with
his hair growing over my throat. / You have come down from
the kingdom on the mountain / to tell us something / very important. I’m stirring

the sauce for your dinner. I’m remembering how / the train track curved at
a latitude. Just right to / smash quarters. I cook a rabbit /

and a nest of hair. / Trace the latitude / of wind into the king’s palm. Slide a
rusting coin under his tongue. / I drive my fear south to your door.
I stand on your porch with an open mouth / as if about to speak.


“elegy with credit check & one-legged pigeon”


always end
at the beginning &
up at the Fulton Mall
gold teeth gold
bow a little
fortress made of horsehair
& twist
ties a knot through
the afternoon’s
neon where we sucked
a hurricane
down at D’s
bar the windows &
the aneurism
not half
bad for a girl
clothed in smoke
& rayon
I’m not sorry
for forgetting
even hollow
engines need
fuel but I’m
sorry for falling
asleep at the
wheel of what
we were gunning

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