"Agnostics" Guest Contributor, Emily Kingery
Matter is flexible, you tell me.
It occupies our furniture,
divides and duplicates in bed
when we touch, when we don’t.
Our fingers play on our own skin.
Our cells split apart and lie dormant,
get flushed down the sink to resurface
somewhere else. I can’t sleep
these days. Even sheep have become
pointless. They bleat stupidly, single file,
collecting gnats in their wool.
That will be us someday, you say.
Someday dirt, someday grass
for the animals. A place for seeds
to grow skyward and branch into fruit
for the children, you say. That is how
we will matter: We will split
when they are hungry, replicate
and replicate, become immortal
in some progeny’s blood.
Your breath puffs onto my skin
as you snore, and I get up to scrub
raw again, awake with promises
that blur and reshape each night.
I distort the images, you say.
I misuse the eyepiece, there is nothing
there that isn’t there. It still matters.
We matter, you say. Your word
bleats out with each set of hooves
landing hard: Matter. And again: Matter.
Emily Kingery is an Assistant Professor of English at St. Ambrose University, where she teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics. Her work has appeared in various academic and creative publications, including Quercus, SAU’s journal of literary and visual art. She lives in a cozy home, complete with dog and cat, in Davenport, Iowa.