“November” – Kenneth Stewart

November
Kenneth Stewart

When branches crackle like puffed rice
during my sister’s wedding,
I’ll be thinking of the pony’s tail flapping
over the browning grass–as if it were basted
in butter, stuck onto the planal rungs of an oven,
and set to sit and simmer.
That grass is my sister’s future,
and she’s been cutting it ever since
I left the nest, leapt from the branch,
heard it crackle right before my wings gave out.
Now, as I roll around, covered in amniote, I see
egg shell paintings–someone’s taken the speckles
off of the egg my older brother jumped out of.
Now it’s neon blue and pastel pink and I’m confused.
Kids pick me up like my mother prying worms from the dirt
or caterpillar feelers, suckers, there’s just so much to choose
from, I can’t decide whether I’m a raptor or prey, hawk or bull.
Maybe I’m a peacock and Argos will inspire me to guard what I know everybody wants from inside me.
Maybe I’m an Annelid and everything good has been condensed down, flattened, and hardly multi-cellular. Maybe I’m an Arthropod, and there is just a barrier of hair keeping me from the intelligence of mammals. Maybe I’m a member of the Nuer, and I can’t see the man I have become because the tribal scars track my forehead, slivered off at the temples. Maybe I’m a rune, spoken and forgotten, murmured but not remembered, base of all to come.
Or maybe I’m a coral reef, damned to see generations come and go, slosh through me, give birth and take death, then end in cornflour -starched oblivion.

-Kenneth is a senior at UTC.

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