Two Poems by Jason Phoebe Rusch



White Civilization

In the wild, mothers eat
their young. Wolves maul

those who disagree. Why
do we believe ourselves

to be tender, reasoned,
impartial? Why are we

surprised by our feral, our
amoral, project our primeval

onto those we rape and savage?
We gratify

ourselves. That is what animals
do. Bare teeth and claws, hold

each other down. The metric being
power, not love. But we knew this

already. We, the most fearsome
stewards, lordships, whiny

when contested, wielding
the earth against itself.

Transitive Property

If a equals b and b equals c, then a equals c

a) A woman is only as valuable as she is desired by a man, and a man won’t desire me if I am not a woman or a man but something else entirely, therefore my value is this body.

b) I read an article about a woman who thought she was a man but still wanted to fuck men, my dad told me once. Human sexual behavior, he said, is so obsessive and freakish, so strange. And I thought, better to be pretty than strange, if I want to find love.

c) You’re my child and I don’t think of you sexually, my father’s apology for telling me I was most beautiful as a two-year-old began, but your best friend, who isn’t exactly Miss America either, I’d be on that like white on rice if I was twenty years younger. You’re as attractive as she is.

Jason Phoebe Rusch’s writing has appeared in Entropy, Bust, and World Policy Journal, and is forthcoming from Cheap Pop, Broadly and Lambda Literary’s poetry spotlight.

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