The Manchester Review
Josh Bell
Two poems
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American History

How we loved your porkchops, fell out of carriages
to love them. When time was a problem. At first how cautiously, but then how many

and how often. Why we broke into their bones
like they were banks, tossed our plunder to the river’s

bloated crib. How we loved your porkchops, dreamed them sliced by rising helicopter blades
from a pink strip of daybreak, saw them drop like stone tablets into soyfields

and how the helicopters followed, dropping like banks into soyfields
the green of dental floss. Wherein we watched ourselves in hand mirrors, claimed

your porkchops loved us back. How you left so many bodies behind
when time was a problem. Or why the famous artists of the age

painted their own faces over ours, sitting at your dinner table
where they had never been. Why we knew why. How it was never you who cooked

your porkchops, then served them to the faces. Back when you evolved
from the vicinity of bone to the clean gristle of weeds,

were graduated to your broken meal of ash and black thistle,
were the last vegetarian. Then how you flew like scarecrows across

the smokeless palate of the desert, disappeared beyond the cloying ligament
and pretense of all food. Where you fell like a bank and left so many beautiful

bodies behind you. Why time was a problem. Why we arrived late for funerals,
carrying our dusty silverware on a belt of green dental floss,

and whomsoever’s at a loss for shovels, dig. How we loved your porkchops
and indivisibly how. Why we navigated by the glow of their grilling,

burst into a million tiny moths when we hit instead the headlights,
loved your porkchops through the prescription and the plaster, broke out of hospitals

to love them, came back in time machines just to watch ourselves
breaking out of hospitals to love them. When time was a problem. How jealous

we became of our past selves, handsome at a distant dinner table
where we could no longer touch the lovely porkchops

we’d gotten ugly touching. Why we wanted to see the new porkchops,
the porkchops raw, so broke into your kitchen for a glimpse of them,

fluttering pink tomahawks we’d fit into the uncooked wound of how many mouths
it was we finally had. When the dogs finally reached us.

In the time when time was a problem and the mouth a currency,
then did we imagine long days without silverware, when your porkchops

somehow kept us from our thoughts of the intricate
and candled skeletons of pigs. And how you left a lot of beautiful bodies behind

but nothing like those last ones. Why we broke into their bones
like children, like children will, and when we saw that soon

we couldn’t love your porkchops anymore, then why we marched them to the green soyfields
and fixed it so that no one else would love them.