Spring 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 2 Poetry |

Personality State: Scavenger’s Daughter

I want to look prim if not proper, twist modestly if not sedate. I want to give fate a reason to hate me and exhaust me and lick me up. I want my taste on the lips. I want to give shivers living like lovers, and prayers when I cannot. I want to break the way the branch predicts. Break the veins, a village. Break the outer outside first. Break the wear to market. Break the hand with work. Break the gesture. Break its jerk. Break to know the goldrush want. Multiply the world by its wreckage, and come out ahead, hearing dawn as it barks from the holds of ships, landing quick like music with its crack of whips, from the holds of a game I cannot watch. I want to sin at the eaves of heaven. One eye to the nowhere periscope of sleep. A stiff gene that fits, an X where I have been. The many bicycles of memory and their many broken chains. I want hours to happen, beehive-rich, and leave the watchman lame. I want my God with no religion. I want to want the tangled larceny of thirst. I want my

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Jennifer Militello is the author of Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press 2013) and Flinch of Song, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Paris Review, New Republic, North American Review, and Best New Poets 2008.

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