In a James Dickey Poem by Dante Di Stefano

some teenage girl is always being fucked
in a barn or whipped
during a sermon
while some stewardess is always losing her clothes
as she falls through space
and its not the atmosphere’s fault
she’s disrobing
it’s just a conspiracy of aerodynamics
and we shouldn’t think
too deeply about it because maybe
after all the barn’s on fire
and the stewardess wanted this
particular type of plummeting
and this is only poetry for god’s sake
it’s not a constitutional amendment
or a confirmation hearing
that’s just to say, nothing’s at stake
except maybe beauty
and my allegiance to it
what does it say if we canonize
such fallings
and today I was reading my daughter
a poem
no that’s a lie
I was reading her a children’s book
about a pigeon
who didn’t want to take a bath
it was silly
but she cooed at the bright pages
and I was still thinking
about James Dickey
and how complicity is a freak beast
like a sheep-child in formaldehyde
and I want a world
where my little girl grows up
to rebuke the wind inside of poems
and testimonies and scriptures and laws
and newsfeeds and subcommittees
and will fashion a parachute
from the air inside her own bright lungs
and where she will not be fodder for any poem
but will be a poem herself in every atom of her intellect

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