Malcolm Tariq
Self-Portrait as George Washington’s Teeth

                                              an erasure of his last will and testament


I, Instrument

of circumstance, hold most difficult sensations


from bodily infirmities

fed by, bound by Negro


crops. Permanent provision

is alternative testimony of his attachment


to me. Trust this donation

vested in misconceptions, meaning


the pleasure of prejudice—so desirable

an object as good matter:


Public mind, pregnant Country

limits my Honourable body,


sum object I, legal alien (I, Negro), made

as evidence of desire. My private—.


My share—. The original design of my head

from me to him unsheathes blood


for unsheathed domain bounded at the Gum

to the mouth of his person. My whole


deed: two third joint uses and benefits

to the Stone and Oak of the South.


Thence, I hold all the rest and residue

of lying—desire cannot be made without


my parts: four parts—one part to each

five other parts—one to four parts,


one part each give two parts; one part

three parts: one part to each one


other part; that is—to each a third of

that part three other parts of person is


unknown to him. To take stock and repair

a new one of Brick. To remain entombed here


without oration. To digest his sense of intention.

I, binding witness of the State.






Found In Volume 48, No. 03
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  • Tariq
Malcolm Tariq
About the Author

Malcolm Tariq is the author of Heed the Hollow (Graywolf Press, 2019), winner of the 2018 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and Extended Play (2017), winner of the 2017 Gertrude Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. He is a Cave Canem fellow and was a 2016-2017 playwriting apprentice at Horizon Theatre Company.