04.28.17
Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

 

IRÈNE MATHIEU

Poem for when the Empire is personally hunting you down

It is acceptable to continue going to brunch.

It is acceptable to keep saying "I love you" at night over the phone simultaneously to the brown man who holds your brown skin together and to the NSA, even if only one of these will say it back.

It is acceptable to plot a route out, North, and to consult Canadian apartment rental websites in your spare time.

It is acceptable to walk with your head higher than usual and to look every stranger directly in the eye.

It is acceptable not to leave your bed for an entire day, the pit of your mourning for your country like a stone baby you must nurse on the hour.

It is acceptable to coax the small cat of denial out from under the porch and offer it tin plates of milk until the day it scratches a long, red line into your arm.

It is acceptable on that day to release your pet into a city that you know will eat her alive.

It is acceptable to turn away from the window.

It is acceptable to grind your teeth against concrete if you choose to do so.

It is acceptable to place ribbons on your door.

It is acceptable to cry at work, at brunch, or in front of your cat. You find that the day after your country declares war on you again, even it can't help crying –
the flame-colored leaves dripping, the sidewalk a sobbing smear, the people walking beside you on it all trapped in the same burning fishnet.

Other names for us:
oil burning on water.
quiver of arrows, dropped.
the back of heaven's hand swatting
        at the dark edges of the universe.

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Irène Mathieu is a pediatrician, poet, and public health researcher. She is the author of the book orogeny (Trembling Pillow Press, 2017) and the chapbook the galaxy of origins (dancing girl press, 2014). She has received the Yemassee Journal Poetry Prize, the Bob Kaufman Book Prize, and fellowships from the Fulbright Program and Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop.

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illustration: anna_croc01

illustration: anna_croc01