2 poems — Kristi Maxwell

I wish not to reserve the gherkin

for the king      her king, especially
The ferns leaked green
There were threats of jail-time
There were threats of Jell-O shots, too
One came to fruition                 one bore fruit
One blurred fruit and hoof                     Huff on
We came to     from the coma of our apathy
We clamored for a path like a sandpiper
a meat-studded shell
A truth inhabited the shell of a fact
before it was hollowed out
by that which found its own value
greater             What shall we eat
I cannot un-see die in dine
the headstone an n becomes
The missing epigraph
My own tongue a flattened headstone
Who toppled it             pink empire
punk empire        if only one were ruled
by the tenant of one’s own mouth
Hold your tongue sweet infant
You are no sad birthday cake
There are still more women inside you


My canoe tongue

won’t capsize
in the lake of
my thought.
The water remains
like midcentury
hair. Let’s get this
straight: metaphor
is not conversion,
and a steak is both
cow and ache.
The stomach almost
holds ache.
But for that bustle of e.
Egress, egret, ease.
The stomach
mostly holds ache.
Shapely crypt.
This was before lack
was a brand of hunger.
This was before ice
was water’s pelt
and the body was


These poems are part of Kristi Maxwell’s manuscript My My, forthcoming from Saturnalia Books in 2020. Her recent work appears in Bennington Review, Boston Review, and Black Warrior Review.