S. Preston Duncan

We Can’t Help Ourselves
Open Moons

We Can’t Help Ourselves

Your death would make a great song 
Let me help you 
down into this cold black android 
with the alchemist's tattoo 
the holiday of gunfire 

What have I done but name things 
in my own image; 
the county's hollowed out line 
the revolution we were too tired to speak through it.

I will call your territories blue 
follow you from door to door 
announce your career to an admiring senate
who will say yes, we've admired their economy 
of dreams, their precise recipes, their discreet 

We can abolish them together 
spell you in ash before the day is out 

Let me drag you through the ink of their suits 
sign my name under the collar of gowns I have made 
from your tragedy 

your bad day with a hat 
your routine slit behind its ear 
pressed to the road listening 
for the tires that will make sense of it all

for a pale man with a notebook 
to gather up your broken throat 
press it between the pages of a dictionary. Say
I'm here to help. Please, 
let me. Let me. Let me

Open Moons

The miraculous thing happened. 
We need it to happen again 
or we'll make it into a religion 
nobody will believe. 

Go, find God.
Tell them we are cratered with opioid 
lacquered with the runoff 
of ancestors we do not remember. 

That we are terrified of language 
and the faces that appear behind it;
their consonance of jawline 
the constant vowel of their expression.

Tell them we need something 
we can't wipe from our eyes. 

We have imagined lifetimes of doubt 
and they are unbelievable. 

S. PRESTON DUNCAN is a death doula and pyrographer in rural orbit around Richmond, VA. He is the author of poetry collection and EP, THE SOUND IN THIS TIME OF BEING (BIG WRK, 2020). His work has been nominated for Best of the Net, commissioned by The Peace Studio, and translated into Chinese by Poetry Lab Shanghai. Recent publications include [PANK], Levee Magazine, Circle Show, The New Southern Fugitives, Atlas and Alice, and various anthologies.