What the Lyric Be

b-boy Wordsworth beatbox vocal cord
code switching through the wheat fields at daybreak
clicking his teeth against the corn’s high yellow thighs
prying open like the sunlight’s tear ducts
on the morning the moon forgot how to speak Twi
the cicadas having screeched all night in Old English
like a man who has forgotten his name
calling out the leaves of grass as though
stalks of letters at right angles have meaning
a way of theorizing the rhetoric of beauty
a fig tree trembling at the rain’s hungry lick
a finch weaving myth into a nested crown of logic
the wildflowers’ arms on dial-up internet
a virgin using the petals as her service provider
he loves me, he loves me not, with every flick of her wrist
the wind knowing the typeface her lips are set in
pockmark cheeks peppered with salt
the politics of resentment seasoning the spittle
true poems flee like a slave in Mississippi
Googling “home” with no filter or cookies
the tuning fork having shorted in the eardrum’s mouth
the devil was in the details when he read the star’s hands
prongs of a serpent’s embrace, steam dancing on
a cloud’s rolled tongue, wet and pregnant
with words so soft the dirt could swallow the sound
what must we remember, to forget how we were born?
when we ask for advice it is rather for permission
for we know not what we do when we do it in free will
a robot puts a conch shell to its lips and blows
a man puts a seashell to his ear and hears the ocean
tell a lie long enough and it will surely turn to truth

More Poems by Alison C. Rollins