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Robin Gow


the eye of a humpback whale:

a plum in my hand: rolls down

the hallway: barefoot me:

following the fruit to the living room

where a whole whale carcass

lays: belly up to the ceiling:

i read last week: they found

a humpback whale in the depths

of a mangrove forest: tried

to list the reasons that could:

happen: probably got lost:

in the mouth of the amazon river:

blue artery: did the whale notice:

the color green:

look up from the water: see vine:

leaf: tree: the soil animals:

fearing that this was: finally god:

running from him: because that

is all that can be done: when you

see massiveness: the spilling

of river onto ground: belly up:

flukes asking to become legs:

what limb will you use: if

it comes to this: i will use

my tailbone to grow a tail back:

the whale in my house: like

the one in the forest: has gone:

soft porcelain: days of: our air:

gnawing at skin: i put its: eye

back into the socket: but its stare:

is long: blank: full of green:

dead: i ask it to be: not dead:

but that never works: i tell whale:

my bed room in my parent's

house was a mangrove forest:

some nights: i counted green:

i took out my eyes: held them

as plums: rolled them up: down

the hall: woke my brother up:

made him look at how big: i was:

the roots jutting out of carpet:

took my body to the floor: belly up:

flukes prone: a wet crucifix:

jesus fish symbols: swimming

like minnows in the trees:

pull green blanket: over the whale:

get beneath:


give me dirt

you blew on my face till

all the hairs of my dandelion beard

came flying off: each parachute seed

planting himself in the dry grass lawn:

a crop of small boys growing: gold weed boys:

saw-tooth leaf boys: boasting about

their fathers: each saying: mine is bigger:

mine is bigger: i don't tell them

i'm all their fathers because: i like to see them arguing:

builds character: they think it might: make them taller:

they imagine turning: from weed to tree:

that's not how this works: they look:

at each others: dress shoes in the soil:

each lace's leather roots: dug into earth:

i remember pulling weeds out from the church

garden by their necks: my own father's:

green garden gloves: the feet of each weed

dangling as we ripped them from

beneath a bush: of lamb's ear: pick

one man from the whole bunch: how many:

children's feet: baby shoes as planters:

i could fill every inch of the house: with

tiny: match box: beds: for all the small men:

all my fault for letting hair: crop up

on my face: where all weeds come from:

you don't have to know about this: i tell myself:

as i get on my knees: in front of: all the men:

they don't recognize me: they come over:

touch my smooth bare face: i don't tell

them: this is where you came from:

but maybe they know: i tell them i have

no home for them: their shoes get bigger:

the size of my dad's shoes: great size 13s:

pushing up grass: dirt: calm down men: calm:

i don't have enough: soil in my chest:

for all those shoes: for all the learning

how to tie a tie: for all the yellow clamor:

pick the seeds off strawberries: to feed them:

i don't tell you: i'd be embarrassed: plus

i like when you blow: all the hair off my face:

you don't need to know: i'm full of growing:

i try to keep the seeds inside: under tongue:

in freckle: in skin: each screaming:

father: father: father: give me dirt


Robin Gow's poetry has recently been published in POETRY, the Gateway Review, and tilde. He is a graduate student at Adelphi University pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing. He is the Editor at Large for Village of Crickets, Social Media Coordinator for Oyster River Pages and interns for Porkbelly Press. He is an out and proud bisexual transgender man passionate about LGBT issues. He loves poetry that lilts in and out of reality and his queerness is also the central axis of his work.

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