One Poem by Cynthia Manick

Our poetry editor, Wendy Xu, has selected one poem by Cynthia Manick for her monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

Marilyn Minter, still from “Green Pink Caviar” (2009), HD digital video, 7 min., 45 sec. (image courtesy the artist, Salon 94, New York, and Regen Projects, Los Angeles)


I Could Be a Boxer


I have a history
of growing back wisdom
teeth, parting my gums

like persimmon fruit
and making it look easy.
Like bright dead things

look easy or carving
S.O.S. in fresh cement,
the branch moving

like arms or legs.
But I know my body—
it’s a stove that learned

early how to bake
a life or take one.
Like mending a crow’s

wing when I was eight,
its feathers thick
enough to fill an urn.

And birthing that tooth?
was like punching out
a bruised rib but

I took it like God
was in my throat
telling me not to cede.



*   *   *

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet with a MFA in Creative Writing from the New School, she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, Poets House, and the Vermont Studio Center. Manick’s work has appeared in American Review, Bone Bouquet, Callaloo, Kweli Journal, Muzzle Magazine, Pedestal Magazine, Tidal Basin, Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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