It should come as no shock, our faces
as books, our faces the envy of
broken down clocks—Right-brain, left brain—
Let us be plugged in
at every turn, in every orifice.
This is our body! This is our office!
Staple every button-hole
that is latchkey and sad. Credentials culled,
there’s no turning back now.
We’re here to be cut and pasted.
Prepare us to be a billboard
blessed by the waste
of a flightless bird. All the toasters lost
the tender prints left from a lover’s
scorched breakfast. (Too much work?)
So stack our shelves with a library
of perfect smiles.
Salacious minds need routine, packaged
as shiny shrink-wrapped trinkets.
Screens screaming for sex kittens
and war porn—takes the place
of breakfast and love?
Honk if you’re lonely and your wardrobe
resembles a caption, wearing white
in winter—such poor taste!
Don’t fret, an underling
took the place of your former self.
Pupils plaited and distal, the story
and the people got ransacked out—
exchanged for a remote page
of faceless doubt.
Letter to Metaphor
Soundless as a disc on a dot of snow
It goes without saying, there’s something
for everyone. Remember the slut
of the multi-purpose room,
legs spread and bearing
the burden for everyone—?
Lipstick put on
for all the wrong reasons,
and all dolled-up for what
the bed of roses stole.
A note was penned
by simile’s hand—your first cousin
allergic at the ersatz country house,
flirting with images and glyphs.
Ask for subtlety, you’ll get
a mixed strip-tease every time.
No consequence, no punishment,
like when you helped write
cheat notes on the inside
of my hand—the same naked hand
that braided hair, slipped off a coat—
traded in sex for a prayer.
-"Face Book" originally appeared in BigCity Lit, Fall 2010.
-"Letter to Metaphor" originally apeared in The Broome Review, Spring 2011
Cynthia Atkins received an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Her first collection of poems, Psyche’s Weathers (Wordtech, 2007) was recently featured on Verse Daily, and reviewed in Poets' Quarterly, Winter 2011. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals including, American Letters & Commentary, BOMB, The Broome Review, Caketrain, Cold Mountain Review, Denver Quarterly, Harpur Palate, Inertia, The Journal, New York Quarterly, Seneca Review, Sou’Wester, and Valparaiso Review, and was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Atkins teaches creative writing and literature, most recently, at Roanoke College, and worked formerly as the assistant director for the Poetry Society of America in NYC. She now resides on the Maury River of Rockbridge County, VA with her family.
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