2018 Academy of American Poets Prize

Can’t Sonnet

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.