Ode to Your Hyper-Vigilance

Ode to Your Hyper-Vigilance | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Sleeping Child, woodcut in black and orange by Bronislaw M. Bak, circa 1970. Image courtesy of Milton J. Fink/Art Institute of Chicago.

Hugging you’s hard enough when you’re awake,
but to worm my arm under your downed trunk,
plutonium-core sequoia, and hold on? Pft.
Not with electric jolts reanimating your limbs in
spurts, flinches, clinches, kicks, grrrs—I’m bucked
off. All night, these seismic pulses. Where’s the
firefight, honey? Perhaps beyond the gun range’s
gate at the end of the gravel road behind our house.
Every shot boom-pops the air and our little dogs
slink around with folded ears. So much for a nice
summer stroll. “Those yahoos,” you growl,
“shoot at empty chairs.”

Jennifer L. Knox is a poet. Her new book, Crushing It, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in Fall 2020.
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