Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five



you might be inside gypsum
or silicon, inside indigo or bone.

you might be inside corn
or fire, in glacier or aspen.

you might be inside the dream
at the end of your body

praying for the holy keys
the prize for getting out, but

what you have held back from me
will burst free of your soul

like a spinal column rising
out of a sleeping body

like the innocence of iron
the age inside amber,

the legacies of bee hives
inside centrifugal force.

the secrets left in the forest
inside rings of trees

after the blades and axes,
the chainsaws and tobacco.

what you have closed up to me
will be opened in a letter

you once wrote to yourself.
open it up, you said, it reads

“the power you call god
is an appetite, not a person.

the matter you are part of
is the purest form of hunger

for the second before minutes,
before the hours, or days,

before the body was taken,
before the blind experiments,

before the brazen voices and
a thousand innocent mistakes.

Anand Prahlad is a professor who teaches creative writing, folklore, disability studies and film at the University of Missouri. His publications include several books of poetry, including the collection As Good As Mango (2011), and several books on black folklore, including Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music (2001). His memoir, The Secret Life of a Black Aspie, recently won the Permafrost Nonfiction Book Prize, and was published in 2017.