Our casualties I hear precede the smoke,
in a bed of snakes. There can be no rain
in America, no grass: trains are angry here
as some are sad, processional for an ear.
The Q drums momentum, helluva cannon
in that sound. Helluva trumpet nesting.
To acknowledge my mistress of writhing:
what knife when thrown that does not sink
through wood nor perish from the earth.
I answered the roll call, the country carried
closely in our chests. Tell me what ring,
what insurgency, what thrust so extreme.
Michael Robins is the author of Ladies & Gentlemen (Saturnalia Books, 2011) and The Next Settlement (UNT Press, 2007). He lives in Chicago.
Circus is a hand bound book of poems, with a photograph mounted on each cover, and printed in an edition of 74.