Poems: Rennie Ament

Illo for Rennie Ament's poems.

Nature Poem

A clump of ice-cloaked needles
Tatty leopard on one branch arranging
the limp limbs of its meal        I stand
up to a circle of trees        I take off my clothes
because I’m dull        Pat a Puritan
hat on my head out of snow        Hang out in
the forest’s snore till a woodpecker drills
a small hole in my tongue        Now strictures
of diction dictate shit to me        Please sit
I say to the sun        It’s the extremely-
longing time according to this translation
It’s the tea-colored-shadow time
and warmer in the poem beneath

And What Have You Learned from Your Training

Light does its job on broken things
whenever it feels up to it, at other times
the waves fade out. We stew
in dark. My body’s parked
unlike Geronimo’s poor bones:
pilfered by sons of important men
who became important men
who made sons. I moved
into this /don’t say/ box to practice
solitude and self-defense
by chopping up great swaths of air.
Who cares to know
our trash is real? Planes pass away
in fields surrounded
by barbed wire. Push
aside an Airbus you’ll see
two mice lying ready
to reject your
outspread palm.

A Murderer Dates

They ate runny potato salad
in the butterlight October
when the sun almost lay down
Drank rum with rum Medusa
tattooed on the bar back’s neck
Sex in a Geo Prizm Leaves
in her hair even though it didn’t
make sense She had been walking
under an oak it turned out Oh
she said for a while and then God
It was hot They had to peel
a dime a couple of dimes off wet
thighs backs and asses Pristine
circles fading It was sad somehow
How come it was She fluffed
her hair Let’s drive out where
the grapes are ripe and black as flies
He said in proficient English
growing fast immune to moonlight
looking to invent a torture
He could give his last name to


Time was I practiced
piano to make a snowball
out of soft notes, play
a weapon into the air
to pin you into a chair.
However naïve that sounds
at least it’s someone
and not something
at the wheel for now: Hello.
I drive myself through
the movements to learn how to cope
with structure. When I have an idea
I open the blinds
to be bound again to my body.
Pull down, pull up. Options
are best when limited,
said the artist on the years before
democracy hit Prague, at least
the censors didn’t let us
make any obvious statements.

Looking at a Photo of My Grandmother’s Living Room

How to get at the iris wedged
between window and zen debris:
her small ornamental katana, her cherry
shoji screen inlaid with meekness: two girls, slim,
the downtilt of their chins could be dissected,
but with a less subjective knife than the one I have,
which cannot cut home casually, as a vet
slices open the scrotum of a cat
for the hundredth time.
Rennie Ament studied poetry at Hunter College, where she has taught creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Sixth Finch, Prelude, The Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in Astoria, Queens, and works at Poets House in Manhattan.

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