diode v9n1




last summer I was dying     purpling like a finger wrapped in twine     my idiot brain
eager as it still is for divinity     nobody noticed my mottled skin     the alarm
ringing let the dead bury the dead    faith has rules    that’s what makes it
difficult    a carnival shooting gallery full of ducks with painted targets
the rifle’s bent    you win by not pointing it at yourself
                                                                                            I like the life
I have now    free as an unhinged jaw    but still I visit my corpse and don’t know
what to do    seldom have I found something so cherishable    a line
begins and never ends    I belong to his absence    there is so much I need
to ask but he can’t answer with my knuckles in his throat    their bruises
their frenzied digging    I pull out a handful of pills    alchemical the body
becomes a mound of jewels    an ancient hunger calls    obediently I answer


Portrait of the Alcoholic with Withdrawal

everyone wants to know
             what I saw on the long walk
away from you

                          I couldn’t eat
             and didn’t sleep
                          for an entire week

I can hardly picture any of it now
             save the fox I thought
was in the grass but wasn’t

                          I remember him quiet
             as a telescope
                          tiny as a Plutonian moon

everything else
             was wilding around us
the sky and the wind

                          the riptides and
             the rogue comet
                          blasting toward earth

do you remember this
             I introduced myself
by one of the names

                          I kept back then
             the fox was so still
                          I could have called him anything  


Kaveh Akbar founded and edits Divedapper. His poems are forthcoming in NarrativeBoston ReviewWest BranchIowa Review, and elsewhere. A former Poetry Editor for BOOTH, Kaveh now teaches and writes in Florida, where he serves as Book Reviews Editor for the Southeast Review. His chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, is forthcoming in January 2017 from Sibling Rivalry Press. See also KavehAkbar.com.