Another Chicago Magazine


Cut, by Joyce Polance

Erstwhile, I am quotidian, a green foundry,
a lined terrarium in dollar bills. Wet and shiny,
coins stack like vertebrae, their song
an everyday whine. My moles are wooden nickels.
The roof is as tall as my voice. Beyond the three stories
anyone ever told of me ( that I am easy, or hard,
or how with hard work and persistence
I will consign myself over in pieces unwillingly)
they neglect my origin myth.

Fruit dried and martyred its hard germ
in the ground. Worms took ten years to push me
past the surface, my mouth a sprout. Ants trickled
their agnostic work through me until I greased
the varnished pulpit of human skit. I polished
my hair so it gleamed like barbs.

Men passed me off to other men. This centuries-long,
time-bomb, this plastic chase endured. They hunted
for whatever they could pull from between my legs.

Erstwhile, I seal up behind this glass, a clear
cloaca. If you walk through the halls,
you might hear me banging inside the safe.
I spatter and regenerate. I hurl myself anyway,
know the walls are only ever made of mud.