Two Poems by Anthony Borruso

These two poems by Anthony Borruso scrutinize the body and its ability to weather both physical and psychic upheavals. Living with an unseen neurological condition called Chiari Malformation, Anthony’s words are incisive, cinematic, and interested in the potential of surgery as transformative metaphor…

by: Anthony Borruso

The Knife 

The knife wants to cut into you
metaphorically—like a lover
or therapist. It sniffs around 
your wrist and up the white

underside of your arm. 
It knows the petty gripes
you have with your body,
the vague marks

you’ve made upon it. 
The knife looks at you, 
clinically, tensely, gauging 
the color of your remorse, 

measuring the dimensions 
of dreams you lug to bed 
each night in a burlap sack. 
You deserve each other.
In Preparation of Storms  

This is it—

The black before. Overpriced
popcorn and previews
of caped crusaders crusading 
in sequels to reboots.

This is the prelude, the teapot
steeped in heat, the foreword
of westbound shadows 
scripted on clouds. Shuttered 

windows, sandbags, twine-
wrapped garbage cans. You 
can hear Frank O’hara insist, 
you don’t refuse to breath do you.

And, like Frank, you begged 
to see the show, the forbidden 
dark delights, those obscene 
NC-17 scenes ascending to sighs.

It’s true, you have been breathing. 
Breathing and burning a vanilla-
scented candle, as the eye passes 
over the Bahamas and turns

toward the mainland. And why 
wouldn’t it want to watch us squirm 
under its retroactive wrath, its antique, 
old testament rage? Dear Frank,

poised at his Olivetti, raining 
fingers in post-lunch rapture, 
you don’t refuse to breathe do you. 
Sometimes a hurricane comes along. 

It just happens. Or you make it happen,
something about high pressure
and low pressure sets it spinning
and all you can do is sit there

with your stubborn lungs, 
their elastic rebellion.

Anthony Borruso is pursuing his Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Florida State University where he is a Poetry Editor for Southeast Review. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and was selected as a finalist for Beloit Poetry Journal’s Adrienne Rich Award by Natasha Trethewey. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, Pleiades, Spillway, The Journal, THRUSH, Moon City Review, CutBank, Frontier, and elsewhere.

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