Real men have theirs in hand. Real change, real gold. Whatever they touch hardens. There’s a force in compulsion, but it gets sweeter as the night flits by. It gets sweeter the more the dancing girls protest. The more they place their silken heads on the armrest and ask:
“How much farther to the bridge? How much farther to the mountain ridge? O black mountain, iron father, what time does the nightstriker ride? What time is left in the breath of this elizabeth?”
Their mouths leave wet cauldrons on the window. What stirs? What’s in you, deep?
The car’s in the leaves with an engine that sleeps. With windows that weep at stoplights.
Real men drive chariots and drink fire. Real men have backyard pools and blue springs and spirits of nitre.
It gets sweeter the longer the story goes. The stranger the story grows. The more perfect the still-soft egg in the mouth of the goose-girl. The more deformed the oyster in the mouth of a pearl. It gets sweeter and then harder.
Hannah Craig lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the author of This History that Just Happened (Parlor Press, 2017). Her work has recently appeared in journals like the Mid-American Review, North American Review, and Copper Nickel. She was the winner of the 2015 New Measure Poetry Prize and the 2016 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize.