Rebecca Gayle Howell

I’ll Spare You the Details

We treat them like it’s catching, like those people

chose a joke birthright. Some have no eyes,

the sockets patched with paper flesh; others, gifted—

three arms, four, an ear. The Kid is one.

His just-born heart thrummed outside his body,

no breastbone, his mouth red-wide for the surging

scream, but silence is what was heard, save the swish

of lifeblood through the Brutechild’s valves,

bulbous wet root meant hidden all his days

there exposed like a woman to the air’s sting,

like the woman who lay beneath him, dead—no,

struck at what she’d made. Most Brutes are put

to work the fields, bent over their secrets; swollen heads

bobbing in and out the rows. The spray planes still circle

on the hour. I don’t know what the pilots think

there’s left to kill. It’s not true: some were born here.

It’s that no one gives birth here anymore.



This poem is from American Purgatory (Eyewear Publishing, 2017).