Cover Art: Joseph Albers, "Sanctuary from the series Graphic Tectonic," 1942, Lithograph, MOMA
Smoke veined the cindered walls,
and the chairs shook apart
as they shrieked on concrete,
fell into circles. A man stood up
in dim light. Don’t be too hungry,
dear addict heart--gift the pull
of your belly just enough tug to still
the torso and all of its demands.
Don’t be too angry, inflamed swell
of my body--the mind can explode
if you don’t share some suffering.
My name is You, and I’m abused
by my own hand, my own bones.
Don’t be too lonely, dear face--
the presence you allow yourself
is also a choice--something you
accept, if you can. Don’t be too
tired, all my furtive being--only
rest can make you holy, newborn
as we are after rest when light
distributes what we need from
what we need. My name is You,
and I’m a user. My teeth dissemble,
rot and fall. Give me one wish:
unloose all who’ve loved me.
Write the story of my life--black
construction paper every page.
Jesse Breite’s recent poetry has appeared in Spillway, Crab Orchard Review, Terrain, and Prairie Schooner. His first chapbook, The Knife Collector, was published in 2013, and he is an associate editor for The Good Works Review. He is also librettist for three of Atlanta composer Michael Kurth’s scores, the most recent of which was performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestras in March 2018. Jesse teaches high school English in Atlanta where he lives with his wife and son.