Backstage is made better
by the lunch Miss Anaphora

packed for him A glowing
cylinder of mint jelly

and a knot of prawns
The other characters shoulder

past him in the wings
overheated in their itchy

chimera sweaters
Rehearsing their lines

in an ecstatic stutter
He despises their fake

delight over the ant farm
of cancer bequeathed

by Act Three
The way they make pets

of each other
between scenes

They think the audience
fantasizes about what

they do behind the scrim
But they don’t have a paper bag

of bedizened sea creatures
packed with

yummy unguent
They don’t have someone

who loves them when
they’re dormant

He knows he frightens
the others

with his sacred crustaceans
But he’s glad to remember

the dismemberment
favored by shamans

and salt eaters
Hence his favorite epithet

Those pretenders
with their amateur foods


Simeon Berry Somerville, MA (March 2014) #1Simeon Berry lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. He has been an Associate Editor for Ploughshares and received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Individual Artist Grant. His first book, Ampersand Revisited (Fence Books), won the 2013 National Poetry Series, and his second book, Monograph (University of Georgia Press), won the 2014 National Poetry Series.

These poems are from Nix, a book-length sequence I recently completed, which serves as the refracted biography of a doppelganger figure, a textual interloper drawn involuntarily into various genres and archetypes as he struggles with both narrative and gender instability. Other poems from the sequence can be found here, here, here, here, here and here

Comments are closed.