Dear Monster, Repeat

      —for Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Barbell’s a palindrome for eyeballing
balance and the rising weight of distance
in matters that flap off shoulders like birds,
tumble down stairs like body parts in boxes.
Barbell’s a palindrome for the way want
is split by need cranked tight for clean and jerk.
Barbell’s a palindrome of fists squeezing.

Want’s the latest shot wad and who doesn’t
love a pair of boots with metal studs screwed
into her soles and she’s learning long guns
in her repeating window thirty feet
from a field dressed with another’s winter
kill. Next boy’s a barbell for verbing God.
She makes a note to write that down. Clean, jerk.

Sky’s a long bruise of bodies splayed, properties
of ink and familiar reach, patterns scanned
like voice prints pushing same old river weight,
note to note, in one ear and out, over falls
far from any economy of road,
and here, one woman, you, mass pulling mass
or massacre.  Repeat, monster, repeat.


Steve Davenport is the author of two poetry collections: Overpass (2012) and Uncontainable Noise (2006). He’s received a 2011 Pushcart Prize Special Mention in Fiction and a Notable listing in Best American Essays 2007. His website is