Emily Koehn

And The Winner Is

I am almost you but you
are the winner. You’ve plucked
the vines in front of you full
and applauded. You gush
to mammals in alleyways
and have lashes pined
out of whiskers. If I could be
that close to you, I’d smell
your neck and thigh and think
about how the dog killed
the hamster, small pink flesh
under the bed how could
she, our bodies assimilating
to whatever environment
we find ourselves in.
I’m not sure about my body, though,
cuffing it with an idea or call it
lack of ambition. Mood. I am
no winner, I keep telling you.
I am the garden of volunteer plants
inadvertently seeking a mouth.
I’m a gander of highways that loop
my apartment, sounds
to flush out our days.
One day, let’s release ourselves
as prizes as skies hitting it
on point. Let’s share
philosophies of weather,
warming up, pupils pulsing
instinct so that we’d know
just what to say behind door
number 3. But now, you’re probably
tweeting and posting identities
with your steady, fierce fingers.
Before the contest, we sat wondering
about the kid falling at a playground,
giving birth to a line of stitches
on his legs, a careful knitting, wondering
how do players really retire
with their hands in their heads
blown and dirty. At our young age
we should be more concerned with eggs
and will the waves be good today.

Emily_KoehnEmily Koehn’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Thrush, Tinderbox, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, CutBank, and other journals. Her work has been nominated for the Best New Poets series and two Pushcart Prizes. She grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, received her MFA from Purdue University, and currently lives in St. Louis.

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