Two Poems by Nina Knueven

Nina Knueven

I Knew I Was O Positive When

the subcutaneous purple balloons
locked up, guarding
my perforated veins. Universal
responsibility doesn’t articulate from head to toe,
but from the thoracic cavity itself—
flushing and swooshing
in hostile torrents.

Needles glint and bags are gratified
with new feed—teethy eyes
moving like meat grinders.
Visceral tissues pump & pump
to catch up—inflating, deflating,
& I’m turned on, thinking of how
much of me will circulate
through others.

Me, whose striated thoughts mourn
& celebrate the leaking liters.
Me, who toasts myself with over-oxidized wine
to restore low fluids.

Sometimes I exaggerate how much
I’ve drained myself. Really, each
coagulation sparks rebirth.
Venous twinges recount the disappeared
& I drink from the same cup for days.

Lately I’ve Been Watching Turkey Vultures

as they sentinel on the phone polls      sticky red heads
glaring at God        I see their imperial wings        spanning and beating
circling and entwining      searching for fresh carcasses
preying for those less fortunate       those gone astray       those in the valley
those who couldn’t thrive       in their own biome
no one desires to see them       rotting bodies on boiling blacktop
we thank you for plucking their distress from our eyes
we praise you for disposing of their rancid flesh

you fall on them all at once     hook into their meat     scratch scratch     it off
no     you didn’t kill them     but your flight is wobbly
thermal currents carry you       above footpaths        above upshot
you huddle amongst yourselves      haughty    broad     arms
unsavory voices that cannot sing     choking     on dead bones
ensuring you will have endless corpses         to feast on

Nina Knueven has her BA in English, for creative writing in poetry, from Wright State University and is a MFA candidate at Butler University. Her work has appeared in River River, SOS Art, Nexus, Voices de la Luna, and A Collection of Children’s Stories. Nina lives in Cincinnati with her family, where she is currently working on a chapbook and serving as an assistant fiction editor with the Antioch Review.

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