Proverb: A Poem by Emily Kingery

Hasan Almasi
My dreams are slippery, animal things, and late
in these gray mornings they splay on the backs

of my eyelids, roadkill. I understand why: the roads 
in our city are blackened with slush so like a meal

I’ve frozen, thawed, let leak its taste into the good 
ice in my indecision, and the neighborhood weeps

for the waste, tears under icicle fringe that could 
murder me if I leave my home. I am lying again 

in the unhinged jaws of the lion, who comes in
baring sharp and restless teeth. He will feast,

and in dreams I unfurl with the weak. I offer him
my head for his tongue, my bones and the warm

blood of winter that pulses still and needs
my stillness. In waking life, I pray for courage

to rise and separate the blinds, to look 
for tender, unscathed things: the greens, 

the ground threaded deep with roots. I lie down
again, near unbudded trees, hear lamb bleats

even in imagined fields. A host of dandelions
will push through the dirt to the sun, heedless

of mowers and children’s hands, and I
will know the softness of their heads in bloom, 

their leaves named for the teeth of beasts
who vanish in the wake of what is born.

Emily Kingery teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics at a small university in Iowa. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in multiple journals, and she has been both a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community. 

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