Two poems by Michael Prihoda

Our guest editor, Amy Kinsman of Riggwelter magazine, says of this first poem that “Writing sparsely can often be more impactful than writing several pages on a topic. In this poem the silence speaks volumes because its entire subject is a failure of words. When speaking about sexual assault, the very act of saying anything at all, rather than suffering in silence becomes a hugely political act.”

response to the republican subtext of the bill of rights when it comes to sexual assault survivors

they say
speak

but keep
it toothless

because they
won’t chew

on anything
you say

before spitting
it back

in your 
face

Of the second poem, Kinsman says “This poem is about the other side of political campaigning – not what happens in the streets, but what happens behind closed doors, like dining with the enemy. Sometimes this kind of work sees you painted as a villain for fraternising with the enemy, but sometimes having their attention privately is the best way you can push for meaningful change. Those this poem is in conversation with one of the most hated men in the world, it is seething through its teeth.”

let’s sit down for dinner, Mr. Trump

even now
i thought

you might
be all muzzle flash

& no pain.
but then

you painted
scenes with chalky ghosts,

children visible only
as their parents’

procedural memories
once they’d diverged.

naming you
anything that comes to mind

seems too easy.
instead, i’ll invite you

for dinner. let
the clink of spoon

against crystal
become Moses

with staff raised
at your red mouth

of a sea as i
prepare this benediction.

let me bare my fangs
& howl.

i might be vegetarian
but i can chew 

these damn potatoes

Michael Prihoda
Image by Hannah Shaefer

Michael Prihoda lives in central Indiana. He is the founding editor of After the Pause, an experimental literary magazine and small press. His work has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology and he is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Out of the Sky (Hester Glock, 2019).

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