Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Samuel Ace : Two poems





Pandemic - 4.19.20

What oxygen
what hooks
what will

with or without
the rugged eyebrow

rugged you repeat
and show us

a craggy path
full of boulders

and rickety steps
only the

faint tremble
of a trail guides

the way
a ghostly light

pale green at first
then sudden orange

when a falling rock
shears the skin off

my right cheek
we find a stream

to wash away
the blood

then we run
then crawl

on all fours
as water rises

to the ceiling
inches from

our backs
we are forced

to slide
on our bellies

our mouths
straining to

find air
our hands

scraped to
the bone

in flight
it takes

great breath
or faith or both

to push ourselves
through the slime

until we rise up
through the hole

into the light
a sudden door

through the
family corona

a flood of tears
falls down

the soft hill
of your cheek

into the rest
of my life


Pandemic - 5.4.20

What started
this mess 
the three-

minute test
and the ride

down the back
road to the house

with the falling-
down walls

grey and weather-
beaten boxes

hanging off
the windows 

boards stripped
and termite-eaten

what started
this morning

was nothing like
where we ended up

walking miles
to find help

after the car
ran out of gas  

we thought
we were going

to work 
that we were

meeting someone
for breakfast 

we thought
we might

have a wank
take a shower  

thought we would
feed the dog

get the mail 
go for a run 

we thought
the sun would

come up 
we thought

the rain
the garden

the soup
that the hens

would lay some eggs  
we thought the greed

in the morning paper
would turn humble

we thought there
was somewhere safe

a way to buy insurance  
we thought

our mother
would be alive  

we thought
an old slight

would be healed
thought the knife

would be sharp  
thought the floor

would get clean 
instead we walked

down the road
to the old house

with the falling
down boards  

a shelter we once
thought would

last forever 
but our season

on stage didn’t last
it sunk below

every notion
of time 

we thought 
but were mistaken




Samuel Ace is a trans and genderqueer poet and sound artist, and the author most recently OUR WEATHER OUR SEA (Black Radish), and MEET ME THERE: NORMAL SEX & HOME IN THREE DAYS DON'T WASH (Belladonna). He is the recipient of the Astraea Lesbian Writers and Firecracker Alternative Book awards, as well as a Lambda Literary Award and the National Poetry Series finalist. Recent work can be found in ARC Poetry Magazine, Poetry, PEN America, Best American Experimental Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. He currently teaches poetry and creative writing at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts.

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