Monday, April 14, 2014

NEW! Four poems by Lillian Nickerson

Lillian Nickerson

Four poems


During your lion year goodwill will once again scream from the other side of Cheyenne Mountain. It is your duty to report your physical growth to the Den Chief without a stammer and to sleep through the church bell’s eleven sounds. It is your duty to not eat your young. It is your goodwill that’s calling—a shallow whisper, a plea—to keep your temporary claws retracted in this year of prideful service.


Your fire maker’s rank requires that you return all beauty to its rightful inhabitant. A thorough hand examination will be conducted to certify that all fingernails have been sufficiently bitten and that all fire makers are adept at cooking a three-­‐course meal without the use of knives or spoons. Teeth will be filed in anticipation of the Face Wars and irises will be dyed to match the nearest pond. She with the prettiest voice will be silenced. She with the roundest breasts will require a horsehair coat.


At times it may be easy to forget that you are both Wolf and Not Wolf. Both Lion and Not Lion. At times you will exist only in name. At times you will exist only in the scruff of your patchy beard. One day you will be all teeth. One day, all stomach. One day you will be a sash of badges, and then an expert X on the den chief’s roster.


When you are Chief going directly into anything will mean never going alone. Bears and wolves will stretch paper-­doll style from each elbow. When you howl, they howl. When you hate, they hate. Your knees will learn to bend backwards, but still you will remain a man. Better than a man, you will harvest lightning. You will set your own broken bones in splints made of squirrel. You will be bored and you will be enough, which is enough. 

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