the custom of the country

You’ll find it deep inside the meter
where the devil works out the fine print,
where godmothers bargain with babies, first-born promises,
and straight-line wind-sheared wish fulfillment honed
against the edge of a skilled negotiation.

It’s in the breaks, enjambments, tucked into the places
where you’re supposed to pause and catch
your breath; all these force your hand, the tension that moves
like motes in an air of inevitability. Irony tinged
with a bit of rust.

He said: On the subject of damnation the slope
can be calculated; that’s the easy part: rise over run.
The real question, the only question, is how much silver
gold wrinkle-cream unicorns curses
what have you.

—Lynette Mejía