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Sarah Giragosian

Metaphor as (De-)Composition 

Metaphor is always misbehaving.

            Call the body a measure,

                        and it becomes a vessel too small for grief.


Are you with me?


Call grief a vessel broken on a lonely sea,

             and at its epicenter: what-ifs, blooms of I should haves.


Let’s call the bird staggering along the beach

                      heartache. Call the heartache

                                 Crow, bent over, gagging on a bone.


And, get this: the bone’s twitching,

            a stutter of life. Then, at closer range,

                         the bone’s a mouse, meaning a creature bleeding out.


Note Crow nibbling the mouse, the mouse’s odd twitching.       


                                                 Raid sprayed across some yard?


Call Crow’s bloodstream a river spoiled.


But what if Crow turns away, flies treeward,

                       before she, both blood and river,



Let’s call the mouse cached,

           left for later in the crook of an ash tree.

                                    See it? Then think of the tree at the edge

                                                of Crow’s mind. Think of it fading.

                                                             Call the cache

                                                                          a lapse in corvid memory.

                                                                                     Call each saved.


Then call the lapse

           a letter of invitation to bluebottle flies.


And the flies are a summoning,

              a spawning of larvae. 

Call the larvae maggots,

                        an entire melee,

                                      necrophages and pharmacies unto themselves.


Call the pharmacies the body’s

            questions, in the end, and final words,

            all pinwheeling, growing, thrashing, and squirming forth.


                                    They are—after all— bacteria and viruses

                                    feasting and butterfly kissing and killing,

                                    all cross-stitched together somehow.


Call the cross-stitching no consolation,

                                     but by the merciless grace

                                     of that web I pass on.

sarah-giragosian - Sarah Giragosian.jpg



Sarah Giragosian is the author of the poetry collections Queer Fish (winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize, 2017) and The Death Spiral (Black Lawrence Press, 2020) and co-editor (with Virginia Konchan) of Marbles on the Floor: How to Assemble a Book of Poems (University of Akron Press, 2023). Mother Octopus (co-winner of the Halcyon Prize) is forthcoming from Middle Creek Publishing and may be pre-ordered now. She teaches at the University of Albany-SUNY.

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