Genesis 1:27

“Hand Sewing Machine” (1927), by Arthur Dove. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.

If nobody believes a liar
when they tell the truth,
then imagine it reversed:

the villagers sent home
from the field with nothing
but disappointing gossip.

Mother at her sewing
machine, the needle digging
in and out. You unhinge

your handsome face
from your wolf skull.
You remove your shirt.

Your still hard sex
collapsing into me.
Replanted in the tall grass

overlooking my village,
I shove rocks down my throat
to stop screaming. The minutes

I think are years unwind
until you unpin me, release me
to wind. My skin unkissed

by sunlight. You: your hands,
your terrible hands. Call back
the day still new and unknown.

Call back the hour I cried—
Wolf!—and everyone ran
to rescue me. Call back

the hour I cried—Wolf!
Wolf!—and everyone ran.
Call back the hour I saw you

bear your teeth and knew
what you were capable of
before the animal in you did.

Paul Tran is the winner of the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, is a Chancellor's Graduate Fellow in The Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis, and has work appearing in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere.
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