Weekly poem on Trump Presidency
A Guide To Usage: Mine
A GUIDE TO USAGE: MINE
how should I define the limits of my concern the boundary between mine and not-mine the chime of the pronoun like a steel ring cast over what I know what I name what I claim what I own the whine of the pronoun hones its bright edges to keenness because there is power in the categorical that prides itself and plumps itself and proliferates till there is no room in here for anything but power till there is no air in here but there would be no need for air if you could learn to breathe in whatever I breathe out
B. Noun 1
A pit or tunnel in
stones or ores or coal
or by other methods.
because the earth does not gleam with the shine of the noun to dig into the earth is imperative to use my fingers or else to fashion more rigid more perdurable fingers that cut or delve or sift or shatter because we are more evolved than animals because to mine is not to burrow because the earth is not for us to live in because the earth is not precious in itself the earth is that from which what is precious is taken the earth is what is scraped away or blasted away or melted away from what my steeltipped fingers can display or sell or burn
C. Noun 2
when stepped upon
or when approached
by a ship, vehicle,
my devise my device redefined by intent so thinskinned this earth is untouchable a sly simulacrum of innocence concealing an infinity of hairtrigger malice the cry of the noun sealed in a concentric sphere that sheaths its lethal secret in silence unapproachable it sings its unspeakable harvest in this field I have seeded with violence
away or otherwise remove
by slow degrees or secret means.
to dig is to build dark dwellings of negative space to knit a linked network of nothing the seams of the seemingly solid unravel the itch of erosion the scratch of collapse each absence the artifact of specific intention an abscess a crater a honeycomb of dead husks the home of the verb is founded on ruin the crime of the verb hollows out prisons and graves the rhyme of the verb tunnels from fissure to fracture from factory to faction from faultline to fate this foundation is equal parts atom and emptiness this fear invades fractally by rhizome and root what cement could salvage this crumbling concrete should I pledge my allegiance to unearthing or earth
Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre(Graywolf Press, 2016); Barter (Graywolf Press, 2003); and Ignatz (Four Way Books, 2010), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She now teaches poetry at Princeton University. "A Guide To Usage: Mine," originally appeared in The Boston Review.