POEM ANSWERING A QUESTION MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER MIGHT ASK NOW
No action is told in a Buddhist poem,
but I’m not a Buddhist and this is only
a part-time poem. I won’t lie for a line,
not even to say someone owes you
desire. The feeling of the South is the feeling
of being in the middle of nowhere
and it being quiet—it’s an alignment
issue, and a crowding problem.
Then the cloud architects get greedy
(the rest of us agree cops are haram).
My foot stays broken, my finger still bent,
but as you know I’m not a runner,
not a pianist. I like a socially reasonable
amount of blood and discipline.
It’s early, it’s blue—let’s take a fantasy
of fusion and eat off the ground
while I keep faith in trains, and other modes
of tchotchke distribution.
Harps can be rented
and vague like all cities
hope to be and besides,
dignity is not my priority
right now. The book on how
light behaves bedside,
weeds still sheerer
uncombed. Doled and
arranged evenly, they become
wed to the grave dances
and scrape snow, in chant
form. I hem the cove,
arrange the chalk, its
scrapped occasion, because
out in the blue, helmed
by cover and coast,
most come to an image
margined—the way we
choose our parents (that
is, eventually). Me, my
body makes a plan.
CINDY JUYOUNG OK is from California and now lives in Iowa, where she writes, translates, and teaches creative writing. Recent poems can be found in the Bennington Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Conjunctions. She also reads for the Iowa Review, One Story, and Quarterly West.