Questioning Your Masculinity by Rachael Briggs

As an extension of Arc’s Canada-Australia joint issue with Australia’s Cordite magazine, over the next several weeks, Arc will be publishing online selected pieces from Australian poets — this is in addition to the Australian poetry published in print in Arc 77. For the Arc-Cordite joint issue, each magazine handed the editorial responsibilities over to the other: so that Cordite filled Arc #77 (and these these webpages) with nothing but Australian poetry, prose and artwork; Arc did the same for Cordite (Arc’s part of this partnership will be published online at Cordite in December 2014). Our intent in this partnership is to showcase and cross-pollinate poetics between Australia and Canada and to share with a broader audience poetry that may be little known outside of home borders.


Questioning Your Masculinity

Where do you keep it? Down your pants?
In the waistcoat pocket above your heart?

Is it olive or khaki, bronze or brick,
or the slicked-back black of a lychee pit?

If I swallow it, will I swell and die?
Is it stubbly-sharp? Can I have my own?

How do you train it? What do you feed it?
Does it sing? Will it starve if no one sees it?

Will it shatter sawtooth and hammerhead?
Will it crack at the chirp of a katydid?

Is it warm to the palm? How heavy is it?
Is it leather or lambswool? May I kiss it?


Rachael Briggs is a Brisbane poet whose collection Free Logic is available from University of Queensland Press. Her poems have appeared in print at Rattle, The Weekend Australian, The Tower Journal, Cordite, and Able Muse, and in performance at Couplet, Speedpoets, Words or Whatever, Whispers Salon, Riverbend Poetry, and Alchemy.

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