A Story About the Body

Martin Arnold

Anger can erupt like a lawn mower pieced together
Suddenly exploding
Yellow jackets

But it’s a mistake to thank fate
For the extra skin of denim
Draped around your tender ankles

If you’re unwilling to indict it
For your failure to engineer a kill switch
Or to wear a shirt
Those stingers can’t penetrate.

It’s not to blame when
The cloud of dust and dry grass
Churning through the blades
Above the evacuated rabbit hole
Transforms into a golden cloud
Of switchblades.

The sun doesn’t drop any slower
For anyone
But you
As you circle the yard
Savoring
What might be your final
Pain.

And isn’t anger like this—festering
Inside you all week until
It squeezes out through your skin

Leaving welts as it electrifies the air
Into a swarm so territorial

That you can’t—though you try to—
Outrun it?
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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MARTIN ARNOLD teaches in the English Department at Guilford College. His poetry has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Poetry East, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. He earned his MFA from UNC Greensboro.