White Buffalo by Karen Chatham; for more information, visit http://karen-kennedy-chatham.artistwebsites.com/

White Buffalo by Karen Chatham; for more information, visit http://karen-kennedy-chatham.artistwebsites.com/

Pastoral: Hand-Fasted

by Arielle Greenberg

Monogamy was invented for farmers:
tied to your land, tied to your lover,
wedded to, yoked, reliable as an ox come spring.

As animals, we learned the art of staying put.
Under a rock. Under a stone.

My particular tribe is known for spangling our eyes and wandering,
in units of forty, through floods and parted seas,
melting our bangles for the dance party,
but trying always to find (and fight) a home promised like a star.

And David and Jonathan hid by the south side of the stone
and took off Jonathan’s robe and sword and they wept and kissed
and were warm in the glow of their buggery.

It was different, no, when we lived in a pack?
And we fuck-all’ed the red tent and our many husbands and sisters and also-gods?

And before that weren’t we more like canines,
hunters on our raw legs, a moving ring who made fires at our centers?

How do I show you I love you near my hearth?
That I love you returning to my children?
That I love to put the pots to boil for you, and press my nose to your shoulder?
And that, at this moment, I see it lasting quite awhile?
What if there is no paper, no court, that will marry us?

Me, I do not like the eggshell walk, either.
Give me the one on cakes.

Not a farmer, not a nomad.
Not a white buffalo, not a gazelle.

I will love you and lay you a year and a day,
and thee mine, and then we shall see, won’t we,
and think on it again,
after the wheel of the seasons has turned over all its plain skin.


About Arielle Greenberg

Arielle Greenberg’s most recent books are Slice and Locally Made Panties. She is co-author, with Rachel Zucker, of Home/Birth: A Poemic, and co-editor of three anthologies; most recently, with Lara Glenum and Becca Klaver: Electric Gurlesque.  Arielle writes a column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review, edits the series (K)ink: Writing While Deviant for The Rumpus, and lives in Maine, where she teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades’ MFA.

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