Three Poems


How the Day Was One

I’m read in bed,
red in the blood for mood,
red neck, a pasture
of blue note but not: 
you conceptual-
ized your way into a paper bag
blowing along, and mimicked
a remedy for hiccups. 
It’s like being touched.
We’re here, dark paper mounds
and the past lies beside, a pillow mint
of pulled blood from sorrow.
It’s like being touched.
We hold tomorrow’s cheeks
and whisper in the burrow of how.
A poem is an act of war
over today’s fenced-in neighbors
and sheds.  Shovel, we war
weapons are
coat hangers hopping
from clothes line to clothes
horse, hoping a sign
is just that:  nothing more.
These end times got us
grieving for evermore motion,
trigger finger, motor function.
I see you opening, a letter
to its hand, a vowel razor akin
to how we live inside molecules
and walk around the city. 
We’re drinkers, we remain
all parasites of the barn
we’re born in,
a goodbye speech
the speaking of marrow
is borne from.
It’s like being touched.


Myths of the Mother

The accidental child takes over:
parasite, alien cord, interloper feeding
on rocks from the dirt, mauled pelican beaks
pulled from dead oil beds, the expelled fish
of a draughty hurricane evaporating—
I know life and this one
is not one but three, a trinity
of donation, kindling, the salt water serum
of veins eaten open, kidneys I pour in.
Even now my love clasps onto,
tightens the belt of your trouser luck,
sucks beer from a can
that will brittle in the desert.
Blood that fibers filters a porous smile,
is the stuff of your walks through the park
on a noon day pre-Happy Hour.
Moves of the mother:  a sewer of evolution,
a kiss on the nape of your ear, how her eyes
crystal at the words
of double vision sold by a red-boned beast,
my openness to penetration
with a light-based mercury.  Mercurial kid. 
You are not the casketful
of mercy once thought
to inhabit the gunpowder sky.  You stay
within, the aluminum fetus, bearing
a crucifictional novel by the seat
of your coming-of-age story
this dark-encrusted night.  I light the flint
enough to hurry you over. 
Feed us more.  Get the nails started.
I’m tan today and the light of this blue
room in especially green focus shows
the color of our veins, which are not yours.
The clouds darken as the father rumbles. 
You are the mother we’ve been waiting for.



Everything I’ve told you so far is fake.
Fake books.  Paper niece.  A cardboard wedding
to a cut-out man I never loved, real or dressed
imprisonment never present.  
He bought me a real ring and ached fake sex
to keep him tied on.  We did it, made the whole
fantasy come pink & blue true.  Lived that life
for a sold-out year, not fake, into years
of work lust baby carriage. 
The split was a slice pulled from apple pie: 
crusted, juice, fruit threads holding the wedge
to its base until tears, closed car doors,
driving goodbye.  I faked that too: 
we only entered engagement. 
And then a left and a lie.  Learned the lie hard. 
I punched him once, no twice, the part
that hurt then happened.  I sorrowed down
the road; that part too.  My errors run
the lengths of many partial-orphans
in this country, dried up
before we started like when you look to the side,
see me and think your entire self
is happening too:  the hate, the hope,
the limbs strewn in desperate repose,
gambling that you’ll get a hold
of your self before you ghost again. 
Like the time I punched him, my fist aimed
at the shadow’s gullet, the shallow end. 
But I couldn’t find home base beside us,
so the lover fell into vision: 
the next best landing strip, clear & present. 
I tuned to the most vacation available
and howled open in my best speaking voice
for the ways we go to story
amid the paper dolls we absent.



Amy King's most recent book is Slaves to Do These Things (Blazevox), and forthcoming, I Want to Make You Safe (Litmus Press). She is currently preparing a book of interviews with the poet Ron Padgett. She also teaches English and Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College and co-edits the site, Poets for Living Waters. With Ana Bozicevic, King co-curates the Brooklyn-based reading series, The Stain of Poetry, and co-edits a stellar new mag, Esque. For more information, please visit