Published Work of Miriam C. Jacobs

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Monthly Archives: June 2017

“The Human Office,” Amaranth Review, Spring 2017

The Human Office
 
Lift your chin in sunlight,
turn south, leave it behind.
At night, they say, he beats the newborn for crying.
Bound to every person – contracted to chance –
a dark parking lot, keen blade, rough bomb
knotted beneath a bumper –
to those who know you by proximity
asleep, apartment building in flames,
or intimately, sidewalk daughters,
braids swinging under a winter sun,
car behind, swerving, bottoming over a curb,
the fine grain of their skin,
a steel wink.
You carry other people like sharks in a handbag,
risking with every choice the hard slap of betrayal.
Strapped to your hip, they crumble
like that lawn spreader, beat to bits with a mallet,
handprint singing;
duty, or love, become
the pistol he held to your head.