States May Sing Their Songs of Praise

I imagine each enunciation, each syllable
pronounced—Mississippi—makes a noose
cinch somewhere, rope reduced
to arousal, tightening. The pull,
the hard-learned feel of vertebrae supple
within a neck's column, and marrow's juice
sucked clean until what remains are flutes
of bone, a wind section of rubble.

Whenever I meet Mississippi in a dream,
it is always a landfill of labored breaths
or a grand mammal crippled in morass.
What did you ever want of us? I ask. It beams,
The same you want for me—the subtle heft
of razors beneath the magnolia tongue's lash.

Kyle Dargan, "States May Sing Their Songs of Praise" from Honest Engine. Copyright © 2015 by Kyle Dargan.  Reprinted by permission of University of Georgia Press.
Source: Honest Engine (University of Georgia Press, 2015)
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