a literary review
“Have you ever seen a man who has never lost a wrestling
match in his life? Have you ever seen a man who can bend
bolts? Have you ever seen a man who can bend bars? Have
you ever seen a man who can drive a nail through a boar
with his head? You’re looking at him.”
—Crusher Jerry Blackwell,
Have you ever seen a river surge
over capacity, the water spilling
toward your house? Have you seen
a house packed to the ceiling
with that wreckage a man leaves behind
when he dies? You’re looking at pain—
a single signal repeated in waves
throughout the body. I can break
the weather across my forehead
because the sky is angry, the ground
with a bellyflop for debris.
Have you ever seen tears well red
from the deepest parts of a man,
how easily a man succumbs to disaster?
I can gobble up a school of fish, a rush
of cattle, a township in the midwest.
I can swallow everything you desire—
your house, your wife, those highways
running past motels and other women.
I have seen men mangled by mythologies
they have invented for love, for shadows
of absent bodies. I can hold a man
upside-down, watch him struggle before
shivering him into rubble. Look at me.
Imagine all those men I’ve broken.
~ ~ ~
W. Todd Kaneko is the author of the Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor, 2014). His prose and poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, Los Angeles Review, Barrelhouse, the Normal School, the Collagist and many other journals and anthologies. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University. Visit him at http://www.toddkaneko.com.