STEAL YOU FROM WHEN

ZOE TUCK

my city my song

like a petulant child
on a day when someone
has written my name
no daughter of mine—
I have none I
aspirant daughter
soi-disant master
of poetry

.

.

my world
folds inward city street
empties no enrollment
I tutor the birds wrestle
with Emily nightly whisper
please don’t (in this way)
change me

.

.

Some man
always intruding on my
island says he knows me
or that he is me
which is it I forget
he’s here to gift me
with he says his treasures
which I accept politely
use some and toss others
once rejected by
wished for savior I
was hungry I stole scraps
took on all comers

.

.

beholden
to no one what’s so good
about being beholden to no
one but some duties I
never derelicted carelessness
followed careful notation
but upon her mother’s
death she found the books
were empty had ma abjured
her duty or her
lines snaked out in
a trail of violet energy

.

.

seeping into alluvial soil
past the roots of
possumhaw and counterfeit
chinaberry in crap creek
is found my river gold
my poor water quality

.

.

I turn my retrospective
ailment into art

I honor
I reject
honor
reject

.

.

Fluent
fluid
effluvia

.

.

water flowing under
the same words grown
moss-toussled under
same wordwaters

.

.

Turn on another light
chop time chop onion
work on my cinematography
sip past’s nettle tea from
my vantage in a future
turret or the current
face of the same old garret

.

.

my master my ambiguity
my puffy tits and my shaving
lather my introibo ad
altare dei and my open
me carefully Dark goddess
I invoke and invite you

.

.

into the B plot as into
a hot tub, slip into my
alternate time stream
admit your acolytes and be
changed or take the fifth
admit nothing and we
who haven’t already
will turn to errantry

.

.

court authority of a different
order the strange face of
the goddex of the waste
and here as day begins
to break I pause my
story

.

.

What did the goddex of the
waste say? You want a gospel
a popularization a page
the dimensions of human
settlement an origin story rules
for behavior words agreed
to be sacred when variation
abounds but some spelled
waste waits and waiting,
wasted time while I

.

.

put my neck in the crook
of the king’s arm and
offered my life in sted
the end of wasted with
dark circles thick tongue
and despondency my sacrifice
was not accepted due
to the principle of
fundamental untranslatability
and then it was—because
translation proceeds

ZOE TUCK was born in Texas, became a person in California, and now lives in Massachusetts, where she is building the Threshold Academy, a non-traditional educational and performance space. She co-curates the But Also house reading series. Zoe is the author of Terror Matrix (Timeless, Infinite Light 2014), and is currently working on new poems and a critical book of trans poetics.