Leveler Poetry Journal
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I’m happy to be your naturalist today

in this world, this day-vessel, held up by straps:

myths of creation, destruction,

punishment, mortgage clemency.

The local yardstick for success

is sunlessness; there are more evocative

songs about freedom and despair,

and really, is there anything new we can discover

about a woman in peril? A complex of

straps cross her: tanktop,

bra, purse, keychain, necklace, donate

shape, as peril would seem to. Is her

tattoo of a tight rose or of

a clenched fist with red nails,

either way, above a name

in a banner? A paper braid of belief in what happens

(announced like a bad, a regrettable hap)

girdles our awkward moon fish cloud

heraldry. Wet, flabby emblem, caught

and released, miraculous fruit

bringing a gray taste that stays.

Don’t fault that gray characteristic

droop like a stricken lid. Our middles resemble

disapproving faces, but we’re happy as

the straps of our thermal shopping

bags break and we get off the boat.

Kate Schapira