1 poem | Ian Abernathy

After Birth

2015 Crab Fat Writing Contest Runner-Up






Two inches below my navy:                             I beget the jut


Vomiting expanse:                                                       I leak the Insecure Island


Dry heaving the new dozen of dissatisfied animal:


(I     BEG     THEM     TO     SEEK     NOURISHMENT)


Only after spun in volatile substances of moth ball and sertraline


will anchor their wrists into hollows


in hopes a mite of blood lust appears itself edible


-x x-

Once the witch of obligatory masculinity:


(Quivering mid incantation of incense and belabor)


Portly Sailors suck oysters from the tailgate


pad wax in their underarm


Impress fishwives with lemon breath


Shackle me to prow


of S.S. Pine or Sweet Lacquered Cherry




I’m slick I switch sex too quick


They can hold my hips


They can’t handle my hips


I rip and rage a whirlpool of sticks


Roughwater braids mates


tied and tears tearing torn


(And shouldn’t they


know how to swim?)


Fur and fin drift before afterbirth


Cling and hate each other approaching threadbare marsh


Paddling a dodecahedron of self-deprecation


Teeming open like grape leaves


Turns out we’re parts mostly horse hair and yank


-x x x-

Happening Liners consider My animal:


pets distressed


Mystified by our allergy to night vision


Our rejection to their mainland drown


(to be outfitted with the newest invitation in distraction)


Only once a year when puzzled in fog


My island vibrates Nerve


Choreography we’ve practiced in


Sleep through our lives


-x x x x-

Fade encircling the bog:


test the bath


(perfumed or else


spiked with grease water)


Cast in


I pull out


a reflex


Let it stink a ring around my fingers


It drains me from the shelter of analysis


(I’m sparse the further you follow


through me)


Allow my body to take a rest from breath


Drop from gas




Deepen my arches into the milked March


-x x x x x-

Ceaseless Mutiny:


My animal pillage with the sweating venus


reined to their antler and strung antennae


Rippling out from the gut of the cay


dive and melt their pelts under


Drag my limb


Brand me further from the swear jar of my body




My animal unstring the echo from my bellow


-x x x x x x-

I come to:


Salt tucked under my eyelids


hot rag mulled in rank ciders


(stamped beneath our hooves last Blood




suckled by my pigging gums


My animal prepare me to be cured


but feed me still to regain some tenderness


We didn’t ask to be brought here You said there was no way to swell the hate inside us


-x x x x x x x-

Time escapes me:


anthills ticking out                 The words heard                      blurs a vortex in my mouth

spits out                                   Sagacity                                     My animal stitched there

re-stringing                             the                                             Nerve

They                                          harmonize                                death tones

Perpetual chirp                       Flocking of the                         tide

rock me off                               the binary of                            this Star




A blackout


And a single pellet lifts from some northwesterly cannon


Smacks me moon lipstick


Heats a memory of future failure on the roof of my mouth


-x x x x x x x x-



re-stitched and




Tower I cannot control




Ian Abernathy is a poet, playwright, performance artist and art school dropout. Most recently, Abernathy’s poetry play American Strongman was selected and read as part of the Writer’s Block festival at Howl Arts in NYC starring poet Corrina Bain and actress Judith Roberts. Abernathy’s work fixates on queerness, mental illness, and whatever else prevents a good night’s sleep.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *