Pokédex Entry #39: Jigglypuff

When this Pokémon sings, it never pauses to breathe. If it is in a battle against an opponent that does not easily fall asleep, Jigglypuff cannot breathe, endangering its life.

i wished my words a lullaby
to calm a killer’s readied claw
but found myself the tired one,
my mouth hung open: but what’s worth
my breath if i am not willing
to die for it? of course this is
the wrong question: i’ve been willing
to die for less, but still—how dare
another take from us what’s ours,
we who’ve been choked and yet have kept
singing. and yet. and yes, true, god
did bid me sing but in the same
breath did wish me death, and battle:
a birthright to sing until emptied.

Marlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit and is the author of the poetry chapbook Capable Monsters (Bull City Press, 2020). His poetry and fiction have been given homes by Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Waxwing, and Iowa Review, among others. He teaches writing and literature at University of Michigan, where he earned his MFA in poetry. You can find him online at marlinmjenkins.com.