"my father birthed his son," "My stepdad stopped hunting," and "'retrospective jealousy:' a retrospective"

my father birthed his son

in a sea of ire, outrage
spewed from orifices
until a small sea of semen
foamed into form
one might think
a puddle of this nature
might cause one          to change
his behavior or his emotions or,
at the very least,          his expressions
but he continued to cultivate
his contempt for life, beating
tentacles to chest, testicles
discharged to the bitter basalt
of the opened ocean    floor
when i awoke, i found myself,
trapped in a pink clam,
biceps bulging                        
for years i failed
to unhinge       the shell;
my prying digits and fiery fists
rapidly grew weary
while the moon yanked waves,
i festered and aged, though i felt
a pull of a different kind.
like a finicky fingertrap
i was released when i figured
gentleness would overcome.
when i found that
force is for the feeble



My stepdad stopped hunting

             —after Rachel Roupp
My stepdad stopped hunting
when, as a boy, he shot a deer
in the neck or back—I
forget the story’s specifics.
The buck brayed
in pain, unable to move
his hind legs.
(I know eco-poetics has
moved away from
anthropomorphizing animals,
but I can’t help but wonder if
the shouts and moans were
a desperate call for his Mother.)
My pacifist ears have
secondhand heard
that hunting is sacred.
Supposedly, there’s beauty
when an animal is destroyed—not  
needlessly—but for the good of a family.
I have been waiting
for my turn to be sacrificed.
I wait to end my deer-like paralysis
from this cold-hearted culture
hunting for sport.



“retrospective jealousy:” a retrospective

while i ponder old poem,
you lay somewhere     sobbing.
suffused in sinful sweat, i castrate
myself with paper
cuts lining my middle finger. yet
i am not disturbed—
just distracted—
by the fantasies of form
until I notice my fourth finger’s
nagging gash has an etching
the font too small to read, and though
it aches and trembles with cryptic messages
longing to be decoded, it
rebuffs each opportunity
             to bleed



RK Taylor

RK Taylor's work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Metaworker, Origami Poems Project, and Flash Fiction Magazine.  His debut short story, featured in Scribble, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and PEN/Dau Short Story Prize. RK recommends the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, November 17, 2019 - 09:43