Elvis Replaces God in All Former Myths

by Erin Slaughter

secretly we all want to assassinate the president, we don’t care

who the president is. because every man in a suit distills

to husbandfather unattainable. because the burned-out shell


of a honda civic steaming against winter is more frightening

than any ditch-born skeleton of wild bone. eventually,

abstaining becomes more vice than lack of. when it’s humid


in my house I find puddles of saltwater on surfaces,

& each time am truly surprised how little

I want to put my mouth on them. nailbiters recognize


their kind by fidget & lack, & parents by the prayer

of you’re okay aimed at the houndstooth swatch of skin

& blood blooming at their child’s knee. why is it so hard to acknowledge


pain we can do nothing to assuage? whoever built hunger

must have done so just to better understand

the geometry of starvation. I pretend sometimes


that quietness is a green-eyed, steadyblazing fist & that it’s not painful

to find a person beautiful singularly. welcome

to my country. we beg for noise & demand meaning


from the ruins. we might as well build a hut of bricks & burrow, we might

as well go on howling into furniture. we all want to assassinate a knife,

we don’t care what rifle we have to dig up to do it.


re: fucking a stranger in your car, M assures me there’s only ten minutes

of conversation bridging the crevasse between emotionally unhinged

& the sexiest lick of electricity ever spoken aloud. that we can cradle


everything we want against the dim satchel of our chests & also discover

a way to become it. it’s every door in the body painted

fever-sheen, symptom without disease. it’s


what we owe to one another, not an erasure of teeth but

holding a lantern to the scars, telling stories of how they shone

like schools of salmon abandoning the water.