menu Arc Poetry Magazine
Contest

“OFFERING” by Cassandra Myers, from Arc’s 2021 Shortlist

“OFFERING” by Cassandra Myers


 

OFFERING

The poem is formatted so that there is a line running down the middle of the poem, which almost always breaks a word it is passing through into two pieces. The final line breaks this pattern, with two words that are on either side of the line are touching, as well as being oddly spaced The text reads:  They make me question the r  ing on my finger. The “I do”  belong on this side of a prom  ise. The border - its serrated  edge, trip-wire my wife jum  p ropes monthly for medicine.  She is a stateless doe in the j  aw of a nation playing chicken  with excuses for entry and e  xit but can’t cite my last name.  If only her car could slip thro  ugh the meat of a lie like the  syringe entering the soft cou  ntry of her freckled thigh, never  interrogating the vein as a le  gal host. When my wife and I  are pulled over at the norther  n flypaper, the fence demands  her name tossed towards a bl  oodline wearing the border  officer's face. There is nothin  g borders won’t steal. Splitting  is its birthright. It takes by la  w of shattering. Gorges on hot  cars rusting at its chin. Hoar  ds applications to wipe its oily  mouth. Entry, a map folded a  long the estuaries of longing. A  ticket is nothing but a trade o  f all that crops from my touch. I spin a feast from gold at th  e pit of me to satiate the globe  maker’s need for locks. Her  e, take my Nana’s golden curry.  Take Aunt Audrey’s silk dah  l. Take my father’s homeglazed  khati. Take a slice of our wed  ding cake. Take the buttercream straight from the corners o  f my mouth in the photo. Take  my left breast and its dandel  ion milk. Take my hand writing  down the recipe. But do not t  ake the book where it is written. Do not take my love placin  g that jewel on its shelf. How  can I snap what is drawn in s  and? The officers, with all that  barb in their speech, say he  r name like a chain link curse  and I am pressing oxbow m  oats into my palms waiting  for a drawbridge to wink. I w  ant to go home to my wife  without dialing up her cheek  s. I bring my vows but all I can  carry across is her laugh dan  cing in a voicemail. I blink  away from her face, even fo  r an eyelash second, faster than  a door slamming a wailing a   nthem, but all I’m guaranteed is own hands  r e a c h i n g t h r o u g h  a fence.

 


 

Sarah Tsiang on “OFFERING”

This dense poem invites and then halts, brings you close and then shuts the door. This poem doesn’t let you skip the queue, rather it takes you between homes and borders, longing and separation. “Offering” is a deep and aching look at what tears us apart and brings us together.

 


 

Cassandra Myers (they/she) is a queer, non-binary, crip, mad, South Asian-Italian poet, survivor, performer, educator, and care worker from Tkoronto, Ontario. They are a Canadian Nationals Poetry Slam winner and are transitioning into publishing and illustrations. Cassandra’s debut book of poems Smash the Headlights is anticipated with Write Bloody North Publishing.