Pull my ends/ and see if/ they return/ to centre

by Marlin M. Jenkins

Marlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit, graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, and will be attending University of Michigan’s MFA program this fall. His writings have found homes in River Styx, Yemassee, and Midwestern Gothic, among others. You can find him online at marlinmjenkins.tumblr.com and @Marlin_Poet.

 

after Kanye West’s music video for “Runaway”

Will we breathe
like ballet
dancers, learn
to bleed song—
toes pointed?
Will you still
learn this dance?
This is me

trying to
lengthen my-
self. To stand
on the thin
ends of my
swollen toes
and fool my-
self into

thinking I
have achieved
balance. Don’t
take my word
for it. Queen
sitting still
and watching
me from white
meal table:

pull my ends
and see if
they return
to centre.
Push in my
protruding
lower jaw,

back until
it fits in
place; bend bowed
legs into
pretty lines.
Please, break bone
if needed.
Pain is how

I’ve learned to
find my shape.
I wear all
black to the
party. Queen,
love, can you

feel the vib-
ration of
my waver-
ing voice? Stand
with me on
top of the
piano.

When you run,
teach me wheth-
er or not
to learn to
run with you.

 


Marlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit, graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, and will be attending University of Michigan’s MFA program this fall. His writings have found homes in River Styx, Yemassee, and Midwestern Gothic, among others. You can find him online at marlinmjenkins.tumblr.com and @Marlin_Poet.

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