Forbidden Words [Amy Newman]

Facts! How beautiful you are! I’d rather not be vulnerable
for anything, for anyone; that’s a dream.
Instead of entitlement, America, how about this: love,
desire, for diversity in all things,

for anything, for any anyone; that’s a dream
I remember from childhood.
Desire for diversity. In all things
bright and beautiful, from the horse’s

—I remember from childhood—
evidence-based galloping, how hard and fast, how
bright and beautiful. From the horse’s
mouth
, we say when we’re sure,

evidence-based. Galloping, how hard and fast, how
sure we are with our beliefs. From your
mouth
, we say when we’re sure,
to God’s transgender ear, then hope.

Sure we are, with our beliefs, from your
anti-science-based magic. Yet a fetus sings purely
to God’s transgender ear. Then hope
that won’t be lost, won’t petrify to fear, can resist

anti-science-based magic. Yet a fetus sings purely
instead of entitlement. America, how about this? Love
that won’t be lost, won’t petrify to fear, can resist.
Facts! How beautiful you are! I’d rather not be vulnerable.

 

Amy Newman is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently On This Day in Poetry History. She teaches in the Department of English at Northern Illinois University.

Inspiration: Because of the incessant, interlocking form that drives it, I thought the pantoum would be useful to explore the one-step forward, one-step back struggle between fact and erasure these days.

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