The Uses of Appetite

By Lisken Van Pelt Dus

It requires a willingness to be broken,
to break willingly—not the rubble
of a dropped dish, the miserable
truck dangling its muffler in the yard,
the pot-holed road—but the sky

watering, the softened crocus leaves,
the branch snapped when it is more
than the tree can bear, the mountain
melting into spring. We can hold
only so much, the world tells us.

Since I’ll break anyway, I may as well
be full when it happens. I want
to flood the earth with my spilling,
feel my self swell, swallow all of it:
oceans, the taste of wind dropping,

your fingers on my neck, your
husky morning voice. I want
to seep into the neighbors’ house
and drink whatever love I might
find there, between slammed doors

and silent, shuttered pauses.
I want to be big like morning, long
like rivers running through chasms
to the sea. I want to be all of it,
all of you, until you burst me.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 12. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Lisken Van Pelt Dus is a poet, teacher, and martial artist living in Massachusetts.  Her work appears in Conduit, The South Carolina Review, and in her chapbook, Everywhere at Once (Pudding House Press, 2009).

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