I Still Can’t Read Your Criminal Case
published by your family in hardcover.
It never made the bestseller lists, though
I hear it reads like a potboiler until
the last three pages. Forgive me
for still getting angry at the raccoons
when they snatch the chicken carcasses out
of my garbage, even on the anniversaries
of the night your body was dropped in acid.
She makes impressions without finishing touches
She fights philosophy with her homegrown Monadnock hymn
Her portable xylophones herd the pretentious beautiful
Her weapons aren’t obvious
At length the oxygen starts running out and instead of enchantment with her consciously limited
number of breaths per minute I start to yearn for the canyon outside, the one in which you
can still find a stray guillotine here and there
If guillotines could sing, would they sing in her voice?
If I spoke in her voice, how quickly would I catch fire?
Anton Yakovlev’s latest poetry chapbook is Chronos Dines Alone (SurVision Books, 2018), winner of the James Tate Prize. He is also the author of Ordinary Impalers (Kelsay Books, 2017) and two prior chapbooks. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Criterion, The Hopkins Review, Measure, Posit, and elsewhere. The Last Poet of the Village, a book of translations of poetry by Sergei Yesenin, was published by Sensitive Skin Books in 2019.