2018 Academy of American Poets Prize
by Maren Schiffer
My student wants his guns to write of guns.
His guns dirt-playing, his guns at range, panting.
Guns have their business plans and dreams, they swing
their circle mouths, their conversations won.
I’m not equipped to give revelation
clung sticky thick to a child’s tiled skull, can’t
give him what I want to give him. Can’t
rhetoric. Can’t reciprocation.
Can’t eye. Can’t for an eye. Can’t for a mouth.
Can’t eardrum snap the nose the empty cave
no snot. Can’t gun the gun. Can’t no one save.
No room. Grip squeeze the sweaty torso now
unfold. The kneecap unhinge clench. Now shave
the body’s face. Which body’s body’s face.