The National Poetry Review

Susannah Nevison

PANOPTICON

Watch the sprawl of bodies before you, the tower an eye
you occupy like God’s light, a gaze that burns their backs
as they bend before you, performing their tasks, labor
that divides and multiplies like the cells of a hive. Sweetness
too is found in work, sweat that releases sins, skin soft
with salt. See that they build a city that does not rise
but spreads like honey, like a rhizome, slowly, a controlled
and lateral home. Only this way can you watch the horizon,
its habits, the moon. How moving bodies become
one body, rising and falling in unison,
a perfect lung.

SUSANNAH NEVISON is the author of Teratology (Persea Books, 2015), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. New work can be found in, or is forthcoming from, The Los Angeles Review, Crazyhorse, 32 Poems, and elsewhere. She is a Clarence Snow Fellow at the University of Utah, where she is a doctoral candidate.

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