Twenty Eight Teen – By: Cameron Barnett

I’ve been feeling less canvas and more easel. It’s been

so hard to feel full of anything anymore. I eat only

to realize I am being eaten. I am guilty on thirty-two counts


of teeth collecting nothing but welfare and plaque. First

my bite, then my bark, so tell me what now have you

come for? I wish for you a misdemeanor of memories

so arresting the clench of wrists behind back stops


your heart. But you keep on beating. You keep on—

you keep on keeping space for space’s sake, or

birthright, and I’ve been feeling like a clock of bones

clacking beneath the dirt; I’ve been feeling like lumber

fish-scaled from fire; I’ve been feeling like fire as

I watch you drop cream into coffee to cut its strength


and grin me down into the blackest grounds. I wish

that was the end of it. I wish for you a toilet with no

drain, or a fuck-you-poem that keeps fucking you


up the way a lie fills a body with helium then cuts

the string. Listen: I’ve been feeling forty-five in my neck

and eighteen in my fists, and I’m just a few months shy

of taking years off your life, or your pension, or

your prescription for bitching and whining about all

the power your hands hold but never feel. The piss


in your pot is brighter than most of my days. Your word

for this is justice. My word for this is cutlery. Know this:

you can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit, and


I’ve been feeling like a chef with no ingredients

but a lifetime of recipes. To eat without being eaten.

I’m not asking—I’m telling.

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