a word is a theory
of how things separate
in threshold wheat
trampled to grain
and chaff and
where this work
happens in a building
or adjacent to it
it’s a hard desire
to be only one thing
to sink into time
and know you belong
so erect words
and rituals the
proper scent
of soap the place
for the best
cured meats
cheeses bread
the lists of money
and restaurants
the pleasure song
of consumption
would like
to know it’s
best would like
the walls
to be made
of mouths
but buildings
are theories
of how
things separate

Katie Naughton is a doctoral candidate in the Poetics program at SUNY - Buffalo and holds an MFA in creative writing from Colorado State University. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in jubilat, Michigan Quarterly Review,  Reality Beach, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere. She is at work on two collections of poems, “Hour Song,” which was a finalist for the 2021 Nightboat Poetry Prize under the title “the real ethereal,” and “Debt Ritual.” A chapbook, Study, is forthcoming from Above/Ground press in 2021. She is the publicity editor for Essay Press and founder of Etcetera, a web journal of reading recommendations from poets (launching spring 2021).