You Look Like I Feel

Dirt on my chin and I wonder: am I already

in the ground? Like a toy turned real, I cannot shed

the sense that I have died. The German word

for Heaven’s the same

as the German word for sky. On hearing a cruel

prince was in danger, I prayed for him to thrive,

not for his own sake, but for the concubines,

sure to end up buried

along. To my real face, a man once crowed

I RUINED YOU, and though he did, the joke’s

on him: he ruined me only for this world,

and this world is not long

for itself. The Earth, that ever-loving

but distrustful kin, keeps leaving us just a little

pocket money when it dies, never the land—

Natalie Shapero is the author of the poetry collection No Object (Saturnalia, 2013) and is an Associate Editor of the Kenyon Review. This poem was originally published in Poetry magazine.