Fever Rising


Co-Winner Academy of American Poets Prize
Published: April 22, 2010

My greatest fear

is that you go to the vending machine

with another woman.

That I pick up my dollar,

and the doves fall out.

That god has a funny hat.

My greatest fear

is his hot. His hot and hot water.

That he perforates the lakes,

the dry snap twig,

the done chaparral. Those golden hairs

of come and go. My greatest fear

is that the vulture

is a flying piano. That his spread fingers

tremble, tremolo, as he throws a

hoop hoop in the jade tree.

My greatest fear is that god

is a silo, a satellite dish, a stalk of wheat,

specific as a bee. God,

I’ve always wanted

to be a crawfish in the Meadowlands.

I’ve wanted to be letters, like bodies,

churning in space. I’ve wanted lovers,

or better, the whole human race.

I’ve wanted fear and fair pleasure,

wanted a god to give the actor’s body.

Wanted god to give a thallowed candle.

For fear to give a play light. I’ve wanted god’s own fear,

own beauty mark a spot. I’ve wanted a fearing—

a god—a woman that falls,

wanted the universe to groan

and grow to keep them.

I’ve wanted fear, and then god,

a woman alone,

a woman, like god, breaking fluid.