Fall 2009 KR OnlinePoetry |

The Maturation Of Man: I Wait, There is Chatter:

The Maturation Of Man:

Because     rain. Because hard. Because
pain     in my     ribs, because     buckle and
wait. Because     cramping. Because
kneeling     low. Because pause. Because
fact. Because     wings      unreel     the     flat

spread of my stomach.     Because     feathers.      Because
damp. Because red,           white,
because loose the skin      falls to all-      pile my
shoes.      Because shirt. Because torn. Because
buttons un-      done, because      chest a pale
fire. Because      calm. Because      thinking
through.      Because      steady.      Because focused. Because
bones          straighten, retract      in a
fold. Because      movement. Because      pushing
out. Because stretch,      because reach,       because weak
the growth spreads like       sick sheets       on a line. Because

quiet. Because       broken down. Because phone
calls,             mothers,       because       children scream
softly they       still want to       touch me.       Because

sirens.       Because       cameras and tanks.      Because there
is       no choice but       to head       for the hills.       Because
terror. Because       running       scared.       Because       breathe,       because
breathe,       because spasms,       beats.       Because       from a bench I
step       to the air—       watch       as my       city
folds       down       to a circle.


I Wait, There Is Chatter:

Two crewmen open the chest
lid when I muffle the need
for a toilet. They allow me to
stretch, but keep a close eye
on the clock by the porthole. I am
shown to the bathroom and
stripped of my belt and shoe
laces. Once inside, I spend
my time in front of the mirror. My
cheeks are swollen. My left
ear, covered with gauze. Where
they waxed my chest I am still
partly inflamed, but the map
carved into my breastplate has
healed surprisingly well: a circle,
seven perforated lines, six Xs and
a triangle. No matter how I stand, I
can’t read the key tattooed on my
neck. Looking down, my ribs rinse
in the wake of some terrible
fortune. When I hear knocking, I turn
on the faucet. The gas rising up smells
of sweet leather gloves in my windpipe. If I
come out quietly, there’s great promise of
water. I hold out for a radio.

Daniel Khalastchi is the author of two books of poetry, Manoleria (Tupelo Press, 2011) and Tradition (McSweeney’s, 2015). A former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, his poems have appeared in a variety of journals, including Colorado Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, jubilat, Ninth Letter, Thermos, and 1913: A Journal of Forms. Daniel currently lives in Iowa City where he is the Associate Director of the University of Iowa’s Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing. He is also the co-founder and managing editor of Rescue Press.