“We are not conquered by our fears. We conquer fear.”
When he rests, his knife, in the back, of the detective, the audience, cheers. There is something. . . desirable. . . about untamed, white, men. Early, entrepreneurs, pioneers. We like to call them. Root, men. Settling the, wilderness. The man is, wilderness. The land, he clears is, himself. The metal he, pounds & sharpens to make, ax, is himself. The handle himself. The trees he cuts with this ax is, himself. The more trees, he cuts the more, of himself is, revealed, in the clearing. He is, what, hides the roads &, what, the road, makes. He is what is, taken, & what is, left, behind. The house he builds, is not. . . a reflection of . . . himself. It is himself. He is ordered : housed : civilized : man = a civilized home that is, himself. The chair he sits on (?) he built with his hands himself. What is law to such a man? He. Is. law. He who cleared the land to build the road to mark the house to make the man. Is law. The heavy fist made heavier by brass ring. Law. He distills elderberries to make warm liquor and drinks, of himself. He sells, himself, to the sheriff, he is sheriff. What is law to such a man? The gun he places against the temple of the sheriff is him. It is his temple too. To pull the trigger against the law would be to pull the trigger against himself. He, will, not, pull, the trigger. He will pull the trigger if he turns, against, himself. To save himself he will turn, against, himself. Gasp goes the audience when the knife that is him is used to slit his own throat. They cheer, his sliced, throat, is, stitched. Stiches = him. He is a stitched man made of fiber & silk & metal & fire. Let us forget & praise the woman who dragged him away from the death that can never be his. He will always outlast us. He is made that way.
Editor's Note: Don't miss "The Big Bang of Prose Poetry," Carol Dorf's introduction to prose poetry in TW.
- "Black Box" © Ebenezer Archer Kling; used by permission
Metta Sáma is author of Nocturne Trio (YesYes Bøøks, 2012) and South of Here (New Issues Press, 2005—published under her legal name, Lydia Melvin). Her poems, fiction, creative nonfiction, and book reviews have been published or forthcoming in Blackbird, bluestem, Drunken Boat, The Drunken Boat, Esque, hercricle, Jubilat, Kweli, The Owls, Pebble Lake Review, Pyrta, Reverie, Sententia, and Vinyl, among others. Sáma is a visiting assistant professor in the MFA Program at Louisiana State University.