Cruelty

     Lucas Jorgensen 

 

something makes no sense
& all of it watching machinists

work the levers of their hands

 

is the opposite of pressing metal

to the back of my teeth I can’t

explain it my own hands

 

daze me I stole a pocket knife

from my father once & ran

its dull blade against the neck

 

of a salamander I couldn’t sever

the head from the body the other

boys in the neighborhood gathered

 

didn’t have to speak to say

what we wanted not one

stepped in to stop me to save

 

the small animal spilling
over the palms of my hands
I must have killed it but maybe

 

worse I don’t know its life

tossed like gristle we hunted

salamanders spring to fall

 

stripped the silk from our hands

& replaced it with yellow
bark in a wake of crushed

 

chrysanthemums & doors slammed

the hair on my chest rose
then fell like clipped grass

Lucas Jorgensen is a poet and educator from Cleveland, Ohio. He holds a BS from Florida State University and currently studies in the MFA program at New York University where he is a Goldwater Fellow and assistant poetry editor for Washington Square Review. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Massachusetts Review, Fugue, ellipses… literature & art, and others.