The way the oat bran blurps
recalls the promises we made
with what we called our souls.
Each bubble like a shade in hell
swells with the steamy air
of what it wishes that it were
before pulling its lips apart
in a disconsolate “Mwa”
and melting back into the meal.
Why do you haunt me – you I
haven’t missed and don’t wish to see
even, especially, after I die?
The way you burst then swell
up from the very belch into which
you were just sucked appalls me.
Yet I realize it’s not just you
(or you, or you, or you)
off-gassing hope with every pop—
but my own soul dying to
rematerialize into what it was
before the oat bran turns to glue.
Danielle Chapman is the author of Delinquent Palaces (Northwestern University Press, 2015). Her essays and criticism can be found in The Oxford American, Commonweal, and Poetry. She teaches Shakespeare and creative writing at Yale.
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