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149| Sinew is a Thing We Have Uses For

Chris Emslie


Point to a limb & call it pride. Watch me dismantle three walls & call it a world. This taking-down precedes loss, as in a fire. As in write me a catalogue, I’ll rough out a prayer.

Pitch a mirror to the sky & be damned with false applause. What pleases the eye does not please the deer in the road, or the jaws in the rabbit. A tiny heart has been offered up. How it careens into myth. How god is a surgeon with a chainsaw. We are told every day to open our lives to something.

If there’s a part of me that is not yours it’s because I swallowed it. There’s a thing people say about that which feeds but I have a literature for head, not the other way around. Is love more than obeisance when it’s a boot to your temple?

Baby, at endgame no-one plays for keeps. That’s the shitty thing about love: winter’s easy. We wear success like a coat of muscle. Underneath it, we shrink.

Chris Emslie is assistant editor at ILK Journal. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Anti-, Whiskey Island & PANK, among others. He lives in Tuscaloosa, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama & a recent convert to roadside bodegas.

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