| Poetry

Villagers Chop Them in Half, Thinking They Are Snakes

Annie Christain

Winner, Greg Grummer Poetry Award


La Ronda

La Ronda

"Come not between the Dragon and his wrath..." King Lear. Act I, Sc 2
"He thought the Beatles were witches flying on broomsticks from hell." – Dr. Phillip Joseph
In a network of underground tunnels, I created white mono-atomic gold
because I refused to sit around on welfare.

The more electrodes I wore, the more I saw The Squire as the fabric cube 
                     my body formed around. 

          My own fingerprints on my body added to his mass. 

When the floor supervisor heard my heart monitor ring,
I told him I had to be the first person to spread out The Squire’s fingers

                                            if I ever were commanded to burn them with grease. 

I was ordered to put black beans in every hole of a skull 
                                                                        and water it with rum.

Beans sprouted. After the Holy Spirit Apollo yelled at him, 
I got my anointed pancakes.   

          To tell the truth, Moscow’s Coat of Arms appeared on my cheek.  

I assumed The Squire’s power came from Queen Elizabeth’s stag beetle broaches.

Soon I knew he was a Pre-Adamic man who kept racism in Oldham
                      and who prevented me from having a girlfriend for nine years. 

I even wanted to crush him with the crystal New Jerusalem 
that floats above the old one thanks to the tall blonde aliens 
                                                                          who masquerade as Jesus. 		

But Lord help me, 
                     as soon as my knife entered his chest, I saw him

—a Vedic yogi undulating knee-deep in monsoon-soil 
                              with legless amphibians encircling.

I thought, “No one deserves to die in shock from the knife of a farmer 
          who thinks you’re a snake,” 

                                                     even though I stabbed him nine more times. 

Queen Elizabeth, Just let me be normal.


Annie Christain, assistant professor of English at the New York Institute of Technology in Nanjing, China, is an English PhD graduate from the University of South Dakota.  Her poems have been published in Seneca Review, The Chariton Review, Arabesques Review, and The Lifted Brow, among others.  She is a three-year recipient of the University of South Dakota’s Gladys Hasse Poetry Award; she received the 2007 and 2008 Jerry Bradley Award for Creative Writing at the Southwest Texas Popular Culture Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and she was the grand prize winner of ICON’s 2013 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Contest for her poemThe Sect which Pulls the Sinews: I’ve Seen You Handle Cocoons.”

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