Take This Poem
Elizabeth Willis

Take This Poem

Take this spoon
from me, this
cudgel, this axe.
Take this bowl
this kettle, this
continental plate.
Take, if you will,
this shallow topsoil
above my bedrock.
This swingset
above the topsoil
this raven
from my hair.

Take your fear
from its closet.
Take this shirt
in need of washing
this unread book.
Take this child
this husband, this
teacup, this
provisional weather.
Take this pill
with a tall glass
of water, take this
bus deep into
the interior.

Take my wife
even if I meant
to keep her.
Take my share.
I don’t need it.
Take as long
as you need to.
Take this line
between breathing
and voting.
Take this city.
Take this expensive
ship across that
cellophane model
of the sea.

Take the F train
but not to Brooklyn.

Take the case
of the missing cufflinks.
Take this beverage
with its silver
Pullman ice.

Take me with you
as far as you can go.
I won’t cause
any trouble.

Take this office
the people. Take this
patience and burn it
to the ground.
Take down your
vanities, your tenements
your champagne

Take down your hair
your curtains, your
razorwire fence.
Take off your greasepaint
your jewelry, your wig
your inadequate armor.

Take off your coat.
Stay a little longer.
Take the low road
out into the sunset.

Take it out back.
And take it
to the people.
Take Florida.
Take Ohio.
Take Wisconsin.
Take Missouri.

Take this chamber
like a bullet.
Take this house
and paint it black
or take it down.