A Poem by Sina Queyras

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Death & Co.

The dead bell, the dead bell
 Every Christ a clap of bad behaviour, 
 Ballsy as Blake, a birthmark
 Of meat, a red frill of privilege.

Baby eaters all, a sweet girl
 In a white cage. Such a useful future
 Looming, the men at the door of thirteen
 Waiting for the right moment.

I haven’t felt this way in years. I have been
 A sheep in wolf’s clothing, eating 
 At the trough, supping on fine bones.
 They have treated me like just another,

And I have repaid their kind company
 By acknowledging their appetite for youth, 
 Not getting that, like the animals of the forest, 
 For men, not calling each other out is

Their code of honour — but I am born 
 Of a different forest, a different code. 
 Ungrateful woman, I can apparently 
 Choke on my bad faith, my frost 
 Flower, while my men ring their manly hours

And count their flock, for a man who fails 
 To high-five, is a man shunned, a man 
 That might as well be a woman. Oh my men, 
 I have been up all night, bouncing on camels
 Into corridors telling of a future

With a different honour code. Gentlemen, 
 I suggest you ride the night with two mouths 
 Suckling your breasts. Bend your boys to your babies, 
 Bid them put their efforts into filtration systems 
 And ways to keep toddlers safe.

Then on Sunday, take
 Your two breasts and toss 
 Them like doves into 
 Summer. Somebody’s done for

Or something. Call it hunger.
 Call it unconsciousness. 
 Show it the door, show 
 It the door.

Sina Queyras lives in Montreal. My Ariel will be published by Coach House Books in 2017.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.