For National Poetry Month: "Doubloon Oath," "India Is Great" by Kiki Petrosino

By Kiki PetrosinoApril 23, 2014

For National Poetry Month: "Doubloon Oath," "India Is Great" by Kiki Petrosino


By dead gal or stove bones
by rainbow or red bird
red bird or cracked spine
by silk wrap or jaw jaw
by cold bodice, blush wing
tick tick or sunk ship
by tipped arrow, glass bite
by weird catch or take that
by chopped mountain, slick house
boatneck or gloss hog
striped awning, gold lawn
by what’s that or so much
without me or full prof
full prof or nunchucks
blood orange, brain gob
time kill or toy star
by black doll or briar thorn
beg beg or gewgaw
by sweetmeat, or gunlock
or old maid or dreadnought
by weakness or whitecap
or grief-bacon, worksong
by fieldwork or field mix
slagged field or steel kilt
by bone-bruise or kneesock
I get my gift.




We don’t spin dreams, we dream. Discipline makes a nation great. A clean city has clean walls. Take care & be proud of your child. Bright Academy, Target Academy. We don’t spin dreams. Yes, we live on half stomach but we will learn to read. Superior grinding ground force. Wonder cement & lovely diary. We dream today’s pain  is tomorrow’s gain. We know what’s cooking. Tasty cream crackers. Proud butter bites now with deep nourishment in every box. You bring something to life. Wouldn’t it be great if you just had to water it once?

*This poem borrows its text from English-language signs, graffiti, and billboards viewed by the author during a recent trip to India.


Kiki Petrosino is an American poet and writer. She is the author of Fort Red Border and Hymn for the Black Terrific.

LARB Contributor

Kiki Petrosino is the author of four books of poetry: White Blood: a Lyric of Virginia (forthcoming, 2020), Witch Wife (2017), Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013), and Fort Red Border (2009), all from Sarabande Books. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her poems and essays have appeared in PoetryBest American Poetry, The Nation, The New York Times, FENCE, Gulf Coast, Jubilat, Tin House, and online at Ploughshares. She teaches at the University of Virginia as a professor of Poetry.


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