Ceres in the Cyber Apocalypse

At the end of the world there was always
going to be a woman
alone and digitally vulnerable,
shucked like drought corn, squalid as hair.
All I have ever asked for
was a pig and the other pig
inside her, born only in dreamtime.
You thought I wanted them slaughtered? How like a man
to see limitations for blood.
Believing you have power
will get you so far — you steal
my money by vowing you’ll keep it safe,
cradle my passwords as if they were white-fuzz
caterpillars tumbling from your arms,
hold hostage photographs of my naked breasts
and the places where I’m hinged. Fine. Show it all,
take it all — what do you think I’ve kept
for myself? Spelt wheat falls
from my open palms. I only have bread
and a daughter, bread and a daughter to give you.
Don’t you know I can’t leave
her even if I’m halved and scooped
of seeds faint as insect wings? I emerged from the earth
like a plant and I will depart
like a plant if you force me to:
bloodless, voiceless, how my body weighs
heavy as a riverbed in the dry loam. My final
exhale rises. I become the air you breathe.
Photo 1 and Photo 2 mixed and used under CC.


About Author


Anne Barngrover's most recent poetry collection, Brazen Creature, was published in 2018 by University of Akron Press and is a finalist for the 2019 Ohioana Prize for Poetry. She is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Saint Leo University, where she is on faculty for the low-residency MA program in Creative Writing, and lives in Tampa, Florida.

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