This week’s poem by RJ Gibson is sure to give you the shivers.
POEM WITH BODIES IN IT
Knocked and flawed as stones or fruit, ______we raise our faces, check our shaves ____________and do what we would do.
Easy to believe we want someone ______to look at us, to choose, ____________then take us in hand— except:
what do we do that’s worth reviewing. ______Best to love the dead, so still and fixed. To love the vegetable, ____________to prep the dirt to make the bed:
spade into soil, then heft and dump. ______There’s an I love you in this: ____________in funerals, gardening, self-regard: there has to be
a tenderness ______in order to tend to anything. ____________Most times it’s easy
to confuse attention with affection, even if you don’t ______have to squint to overlook those fine lines. ____________I used to fall in love on a semi-daily basis:
kissed total strangers ______at parties and in bars until ____________all that stopped being a good idea, even on weekends.
Maybe it’s getting older, not wanting ______to be more interesting ____________to other people than to myself.
Or maybe I grew afraid when I found out ______a former neighbor brought a guy home, choked him ____________to death in the middle of sex. He hid three days.
Three days he kept this dead trick ______in his bedroom, ____________in July.
He finally dragged the body down the street, ______dumped it beneath a bridge. ____________After his arrest, I joked about it,
sang snippets of “Killer Queen.” ______I stopped all that soon as I saw my former neighbor, shackled ____________in an orange jumpsuit, in a courtroom
on the local action news. ______He looked just like he did ____________when he came to borrow something
or share some E or weed. ______That ‘s what made it awful—that lack of change. ____________He lifted up his face,
he met the judge’s eyes. ______He was still handsome.
RJ GIBSON was a 2008 Lambda Literary Retreat Fellow in Poetry. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Knockout, BLOOM, and Court Green. His chapbook Scavenge was a co-winner of the 2009 Robin Becker Prize. He lives and works in West Virginia.