KMA Sullivan

origin story

with flour up to my elbows

I seek false indigo

and the creeping fig

dodge desiccating winds

that leave only spine and hair

we are numbered

covered in fringe

and our universes

I may yet find

the asparagus flower

a peppermint scented geranium

you are my yoked bull

with bowls of corn and seed

your blood leaks silver

my heart becomes peyote

we will dig rivers with this glass plow



the city endures

wrecking ball pulses

through brick and shade

counting frailties

the backslide of man

in the sensorium

there is palpable menace

when will I learn

to interrogate desire

notice what emerges at low tide

what is waiting to rise

there is tar on the wall

genitals in chalk and concrete

a ceaseless obsolescence

so old

I’m almost in the trash

with large sunglasses

and mannequin hands

you might have your numbered flags

your banded hats and guns

but I have a fetish for novelty

minute particulars

in triangular spaces

where there is dimensionality

even in the dappling

so I will lurch out of subway cars

knock into tall women

newly minted

be happy just

to balance on heel bone

even as the boa constrictor

approaches the playpen


KMA Sullivan is the author of Necessary Fire, winner of the St Lawrence Book Award (Black Lawrence Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Southern Humanities Review, Forklift, Ohio, The Nervous Breakdown, Gertrude, diode, and elsewhere. She has been awarded residencies in creative nonfiction and poetry at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and Summer Literary Seminars and she is the co-editor in chief of Vinyl and the publisher at YesYes Books.