Asylum Testament

SM Stubbs

History is how we’re tethered to certain
          stretches of land. The minute you’re kissed

or punched, you and that place own each other.
          Sometimes I want to wipe a small town off

my face. I want to be so Old Testament I get
          to choose my own plagues. I’ve been resident

at this address longer than anywhere else,
          the mess is how I know it’s okay to breathe.

When biological defenses outpace our common
          sense, the result is fear. Everything heightened

by the need to cut things open. Blood means
          rebirth and the sharpest blades. When opening

this bible you’ll find the Gospel of Mutilations,
          in which dismemberments turn into a holiday

dance. I know the graphic violence is hard to
          take, but at least hang on through the blizzard.

Until recently, SM Stubbs co-owned a bar in Brooklyn. Recipient of a scholarship to Bread Loaf; nominated for the Pushcart and Best New Poets; winner of the 2019 Rose Warner Poetry Prize from The Freshwater Review. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Poetry Northwest, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, December, and The Rumpus.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021