The Myth of Arms — By Gregory Stapp

Born without arms, disarmed,

you ached like a broken-handled

wheelbarrow. You hammered at doors

like a bloody fist. You explored the forests

like a jackhammer walked back and forth

until the leaves were pulp.


You call them down from the heavenly stores,

two, gray and oiled and tense with springs,

long enough to hang just past your hips.

You call them down from the Great Assortment,

the racks and racks of choices. Strap them on

like ordnance. Swing them in your swagger.


A completed birth, a checked task,

you’re a wheelbarrow full of rubble.

You’re a rusted hammer in the corner,

electric with waiting. You punch holes

in the air with the noise of a jackhammer

until you suffocate in your mad work.

~ Gregory Stapp

Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from queens University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in Lime Hawk Journal, Shot Glass, The Ekphrastic Review, and Forage, among others. He recently served as the Poetry editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.

Guest Editor Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, and others. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.


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