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About this poet

Sandra Simonds is the author of Steal It Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015) and Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Press, 2012). She teaches at Thomas University and lives in Tallahassee, Florida. 

You Can't Build a Child

with the medicinal poppies of June
nor with Celan's bloom-fest of dredged stone,
      not with history's choo-choo train of corpses,
    not with Nottingham's Robin Hood
            nor Antwerp's Diamondland.

Not walking on the Strand in Manhattan Beach with her
       silicone breast implants, refinery, waves of trash,
        not out of the Library of Alexandria
            with her burnt gardens that prefigure gnarly,
        barnacle-laden surfboards broken in half.

You can't build the child with the stone paths
        that we have walked on through the atmosphere,
            the pirate's plank, the diving board, the plunge,
          nor with the moon whether
                she be zombie or vampire.
        Not with Delphi, not with fangs, or cardamom bought
                in Fez, red with spring, red with
                    marathon running cheeks.

            Not with monk chant, bomb chant,
        war paint, not with the gigantic Zen pleasure zones,
                nor with this harnessed pig
        on the carousel that I am sitting on with my son
                in Nice, France. How it burns on its axis
            as if it were turning into pineapple-colored kerosene
        the way the Hawaiian pig, apple in snout, roasts
           in its own tropical meat under the countdown sun.

Poem first appeared in Poetry, April 2012.

 

Poem first appeared in Poetry, April 2012.

 

Sandra Simonds

Sandra Simonds

Sandra Simonds is the author of Steal It Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015) and Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Press, 2012). She teaches at Thomas University and lives in Tallahassee, Florida. 

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I’m a witch who lost all her powers, then
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Locked in the beauty of the pearl, far from frail,
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