Sonnet with a Wishbone in the Throat
Kara van de GraafPoetry / Number 86
I trussed the hen and cut the breast
clean, pliable, soft with cartilage.
I thought my mouth could swallow it
whole, but the bone went brittle, broke
through the skin of my neck like two
thorns. Its prongs scissored out above
my clavicle. Windpipe split in a perfect Y.
When I speak, each phrase kaleidoscopes,
modifies, a duet of whispers I lip into air.
I sound sweet when I want to be bitter. I bite
back my anger’s flare. My voice box grows
into an echo chamber, buzzes double-alive.
Forgive me, I must say everything twice:
once to punish, once to entice.
Kara van de Graaf is a doctoral candidate at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, The Southern Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.Image by John Towner