poem index

Purging

by M'Bilia Meekers

Lie down with me at the Canfield Green.
Can you feel the tar-burn
pull your shoulders down,
 
sweat pearl against your skin?
Have you practiced
ways to spread your body wide?
 
Tell me. I want to hear you say it.
Lie down with me in August and you will
possess a corpse's eyes, salted bone on your tongue.
 
Bone on your tongue. You will possess embalming knowledge,
wormwood in your blood, conifers in embers.
Here on the pavement, tell me how
 
your limbs swell, thirteen variations on thunder.
Tell me. Tell me. I want to hear
you say it. Can you feel
 
your lungs slacken, inflate, your pupils
dilate? Holes in your head,
holes in your head, growing like shots of
 
squid ink you've never seen.
Has the pavement grown wet?
With blood? With Michael Brown's
 
blood we're sweating out like venom?
Can you hear the rumble engines?
passing exhaust over your face?
 
Say it. I want to hear you say it.
In this moment, I will teach you.
how to be a prophet, how to flash your eyes
 
bright, compact mirrors at night.
A kaleidoscope of time unwinds along
the center lane, pattern out a constellation, 
 
and I will show you how to outdo
the hundred eyes of Argus. Cataracts,
          fanned as oyster mushrooms,
 
sprout across your iris. Every Michael Brown, shrapnel
in your back, shrapnel in your back.
Tell me you will take the visions. I want to hear you.
 
Say it. Here on the pavement, I hold them out
towards you as the rest of the residents
lay down beside us. Can you hear them? 
 
Can you hear them calling you
something new: Tiresias? I want to hear
you say it. Say it.