How should I stay

I would be a better liege. I would wake up

And I would not be who I fear I am. Harp

Seals accost with abandon. Leave their young.

Seals gestate for not quite a year. I could be blameless

If the orcas had come for meals. But this is political

Economy. Earless schleppers weigh little more than

A microwave. I want to adhere to an order of things.

When I was twelve days old they took me back—

Too much salt in my blood. I would be better

If nobody told me to get better. Life is a circle

if we recognize the practice of banishing. The

Arctic argues with cycles. We make a mockery

Of stability. There is a cave with better sons.

They can be worshipped. They can be found

In the latest issue of Good Housekeeping. They

Can be found in the absence wrecked by prisons,

In those pills so blue that make me a healthy

Person to drive in. There is always a chance this

Or that will taper you. That you will fall down

The stairs you were climbing. Even Gods slide

Down the mountains they build.

Joshua Aiken is a Cave Canem Fellow, a former resident at the Vermont Studio Center, and the winner of the Martin Starkie Prize as selected by Judge Jane Yeh. His poems have featured in publications such as Assaracus, BOAAT, TENDER LOIN, fog machine, MUZZLE Magazine, and Winter Tangerine. He is based in New Haven, Connecticut. 

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