Three poems by Anaïs Duplan

What Is the Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence
The boy unveils his ankles for the grazing stallions, hoping to start a riot. The stallions bulge in the sun and are blinded by the sun. Hoping to start a riot, the ponies graze in the sun and the woman unveils her ankles for the grazing stallions. I once saw men riot when a woman lifted her long brown skirt. Her ankle-bones bulged and the stallions bulged in the sun. The ponies chased the boy who went dashing, his skirt flapping, down a lean alley and evaporated. I once heard men strike each other over the head with empty fists, striking until blood ran freely in the city
ditches. The stallions thunder into each other, peel
themselves off of each other and thunder again.
The whole
city, this sound.
On How to Win With or Without Trying
Stand by a church tower and mimic its stance. To your friends explain that nothing is to be taken for granted, not even the fingernail clippings. Adjust your sex. Invent the new sounds for pleasure. It is advised to study the voices of people splitting. Return to the church and lie at its base. Keep in mind that the fingernails continue to grow. Clip them now. Use an envelope to store the excess and keep this in your pocket. Confess for the last time. Rehearse the pleasure sounds.
Rule Number One No Rules
A spotted fawn is dead on the parkway. Discover
what killed it. Draw a map of the wound. Locate
the wound, inherit it. A spotted fawn at the guardrail
of the parkway awaits. Discover what caused it
to live: take the fawn into your arms, dissect it
into halves: draw out the grasses, separate
the blades. Ask: is the ending ended now have we
surpassed it? Locate hunger, take it
into your arms. Wrap your arms
around yourself. Discover hunger.
A spotted fawn.
If you are alone: give
your life to the fawn. Cloak
yourself in its undone ribs. Give.
If you are not alone: do not give
the fawn away. Leave it, take yourself.
Let your dress billow over
the carcass. The polka-dots

Anaïs Duplan‘s poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in [PANK], Hyperallergic, Phantom Limb, Asymptote, The Journal, Jellyfish Mag, and others. She is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a music writer for No Fear of Pop and Decoder Magazine. She also runs an Afrofuturist artists’ network called The Spacesuits.