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by Joseph Byrd

There was something about

numbered buttons

and there was something in the

oven. We were

together, but in that

cornstalk way where what

sticks out is

separate and seeded.

I wanted to

push toward the

edge of your

something, wanted to

unbutton the number of

days together without a

recipe, amazed how

corn can be made to

obey beyond humility. There was

something about the way you

forsook my husk. And though

long ago I should have said

shuck you, it was

I who wanted to do that. It was

I who wished to be up before

being buttered. And there was

something about the way your

eyes popped when I

held your breath for you.

One of our buttons says

Self-Clean. What would

pushing something like that

mean, I asked you, just as our

time ran out.


About the Poet:

Joseph Byrd’s work has appeared in Fatal Flaw, South Florida Poetry Journal, DIAGRAM, with forthcoming work in WAXING & WANING, Clackamas Literary Review, Many Nice Donkeys, and Novus Literary Arts. He’s a 2023 Pushcart Prize nominee, and was in the StoryBoard Chicago cohort with Kaveh Akbar. An Associate Artist in Poetry under Joy Harjo at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, he is on the Reading Board for The Plentitudes.


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