Gayle Reaves-King, All Fall Down

Emerge shining, misshapen.
No more can they confine you. Rise and stretch
the figure once buried, obscure, stinking under history. Escape
the shadow of decency that bound you, open the huge mouth
we muted in payment for terror. These details

have faded; the young abandon old scrolls, a forgotten field
of study. In this present, you glory in gray rain, carve pain
and ravening into a new banner. They render unto you

what you will have, which is all — brook, alley, language, bird,
jungle, sea, air and cloud, every organ
of renewal, every source of long hope. No longer limited to whispers,

you can kiss, fuck, be admired, worshipped aloud, set loose on the earth
the same the way men crush insects for blood-red
to color their carpets. Reveal and mystify

your image with CGI; fatten your children on empire,
but not for long, though too long. You have learned the wrong math,

have read the red shift upside down. Your teeth crunch
the sustaining seed you cannot plant in spring. You gorge
on the future. The scoring mechanism sits rusting in toilet water.
You feel in excellent fettle, but fettle has left the station. In the next age,

some potter wrapped in hides will fettle the edge of her bowl
with scraps of silken ties. You always did like the old ways.

Gayle Reaves-King is a poet, editor, educator and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. A Texas native, she lives in Fort Worth, has reported from all over the world, and is now managing editor of The Texas Monitor, an online government-watchdog publication. Her chapbook Spectral Analysis was published by the Dallas Poets Community. For the last several years she has edited the Best American Newspaper Narratives anthologies, published by UNT Press.

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