Geof Huth

The King of These

I am the king of these. My swollen foot can take me only so far, as I go as I go. I am,
from what I can tell, the king of these: the tubers of the earth, plump ripe rhizomes snaking
the underworld, the fat orange pumpkins of the field, thoughts encountering reality before expectation. My only kingdom is an empty basket and fragments, shards of glass from a bottle
well thrown. As a child my mother told me, “Eat well that you may be strong and vanquish
thine enemies,” yet I was a baby, barely babble, exported to the eastern hills, vagrant

in my own life, inhabitant of vulture shadow, the first child of Manhattan and drinking
to prove my title. Hot every summer sun upon me in the vastless shade, I played the game
of imagining, the only game, of believing my other life—neither shepherd’s son nor
son of any other king, but clear-born son of the king of these. Within black night, the cold
sneaking an ocean of darkness across the plain, I felt my swollen left foot swelling with
the blackening night, no vein left to move the blood. I am Fatfoot, the whisperer of

knowledge, now regnant in a time of grief. I lived once a child in the deep green valleys
of Long Island, convener of rumor, falconer to seagulls and sparrows, that last least memory
of my true parents: osprey and whale. Atop the towering mountains of Shelter Island
I built a hideout from the sun and rested my swollen foot until it shrunk back down.
An old man, crowded with questions, penny hand held up like a saucer to every passing
footstep, stopped me at the juncture, the river’s head running like a cock (out and flat),

and asked me, “Whatever grows for her, whatever grows to her, whatever grows there
between the paired pillars of man?” As I held my crotch in answer, that only man withered,
sinking into sand, his penny hand wrinkled into fist, and slept, dreaming out the rest
of his breath. I wandered from hamlet to hamlet, reciting words as I did, anxious for
the future in that city of canyons. I am, my caretakers told me, the king of these, of
succulents, the bulging tuber of my jeans, the fat blue veins atop my hands. Every journey

forward is katabatic, a slipping back into old battles, the false retelling of ancient song,
so I plodded, Fatfoot, back to my island home, the blue-green reaches of the sea surrounding
beaches white with sun and sand. In that warm version of my past, an ape scaled monuments
to self-made kings, his small white wife cupped in the soft clutch of his furrowed hand.
Upon my calling out his name, a name like drums, this king of apes tumbled down
to pavement, and I was alone in the city, the great lights throbbing with colors, some

message daring to make itself known. I do not see in sunlight because the night has squeezed my pupils into points. I do not know the past because my mother left me on Utopia Parkway
as an infant. I cannot want the future because it’s death that waits me, death that wants
my warm fat foot, death that craves my warm red blood. The widowed woman I take as wife
is white and warm. In pallid moonlight, she offers herself each night, white apples
for her breasts, the red petals of her cunt, its flowers fragrant like honeysuckled nightshade.

When I slip into her river, I fall into her, my fat cock fatter than my foot and firm against
her grip. In the darkness, she has no face, she speaks no words, she exists as dream and memory,
sylph and symbol, more than woman, and I erupt inside her with pearly semen, leaving
liquid traces of moonlight within, even her thigh glistening slightly with promise. It is so,
how we made our children, solid as a square, and taught them how they’d one day reign.
I am the king of these: my fat cock who makes my future, my four children strong and bright,

the pulsing muscles of my calves. My wife tells me, “Eat me that you may be swift and
cunning and destroy the past before the future it becomes.” I can’t right this poem.
It cannot tell my story. I do not know why my wife has killed herself, what grief infected her. I don’t know why I ride this plane back to La Guardia. I know I have torn my eyes
from their sockets and I am blind to thought, I know I must atone for everything since
my birth, I know my foot is fat and throbbing in the heat. I know I am the king of these,

the wandering jew, a plant engorged, bejeweled, variegated and roaming the planet,
with its best daughter, in desperate hopes of finding a better way to kill your only god.

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