Poetry: “Qaemot for When Blood Says” by Rosebud Ben-Oni

Qaemot for When Blood Says 

— after A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Blood says: I’ll antihero my crew—    for {a taste of} your antihooves.

Blood says blood recognizes who
                 ‘s mild in morals. Misanthropic. Malanged.         
                              Says blood

                 –ious touch        makes you {a boon} that Last{ing}
                              Days             will value & no one can thieve
                                                           {from you}—

                                                                           Keeps you free from the organ



                               who chew last living things
                                             {but not you}—


                                                           Woof {Whistle}—                


                                                                                                         Those who do not fear you,

                                                                                           (& I’ll come through)

                                                                           even the E-flat night

-watchman who woos                   screamers  from blight,
               those radioluminescent boys-                     to-men fright
                               who light up                     all the tons of slop & junk

when the only landscape is desert &         punk
               stag films, when the whole damn underscene 
                               is a Midwest state freak of marching

bands striking up dis-ease: release another slayer
               from rustic & rotten lair. Blood says who cares
                               to wipe that damn smile

off his malware. Blood says: bloody hooves & I don’t take


                                           {to}—        we        inflame the greatest of civil

                              & shame.          All the distances one cannot
                              mar or grace.               Our strike is silent &

psychic.                   Telepathic. Two alphas
scudding unease. They’ll try to capture us

in drive-ins & on midnight
screens.             We’ll leave

them wishing for another
fallout breeze.            Now—


                                                         & Cramp

                                                                       & cease upon                                                           these
                                                                       wastelands, yet                 bonedry           & unpleased.

Covet: Ten marksmen for every demon. Deed: Doggy as deady, I rune twenty
              languages fluently— all at once, if need— including

                               {the bloody hooves}—    O Über-horse, with your
                                                        underhooves.    Speak no evil: if canines can

                                                           possess equus,         {then yes},         equus can obsess
                                                                               with heed,    every bunker & earthstuck steed—

                                                                                          & a chance, perhaps, to direct

all what they will see    ::              is me,                        

             {& you}, my






Author’s Note: A Qaemot is a sort of prayer for a Jewish exorcism. This is part of a new series on “exorcism poems” for the author.

About Rosebud Ben-Oni

Photograph of Rosebud Ben-Oni

Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery (2021), which received a Starred Review in Booklist, and the author of turn around, BRXGHT XYXS (Get Fresh Books, 2019). Her chapbook 20 Atomic Sonnets, which appears in Black Warrior Review (2020), is part of a larger future project called The Atomic Sonnets, which she began in 2019, in honor of the Periodic Table’s 150th Birthday. She has received fellowships and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, City Artists Corps, CantoMundo and Queens Council on the Arts. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Poetry Society of America (PSA), The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Electric Literature, among others. In 2017, her poem “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in NYC, and published by The Kenyon Review Online. Recently, her poem “Dancing with Kiko on the Moon” was featured in Tracy K. Smith’s The Slowdown.