As seen in BlazeVOX

We Didn't Play House

A swallowed hook wound

round the rib bones of a bass.

I apologized, offered my hand,

pushed it in. Risked a puncture.

Let the fish eat my arm, not stopping

 

at the wrist. The fat white underbelly

filled with my child-bones. Scales dilated

and stretched along the grain and then I

dug my feet into the mud bank while

the fish gave birth to me.

I held up the red-soaked hook,

thrashing with evidence of new life.

The fish, each child, all

came for dinner.

 

Thunder Hole, a Photo Op

“We were hungry before we were born.” –Fever Ray

 

We are more primordial than sea lettuce and drag

rubber soles across the cracked shore side. Hurry,

the next wave should be good!

 

The tour guide warned us to stay

back from the cliff. A rogue wave

claims from the viewing platform a child and mother.

I see them cresting a few miles away.

They must be mermaids, unafraid of snagging

on the current’s many teeth.

Any sort of soft cloth

or human contact must raw their skin.

 

If I hold the camera this way,

at arm’s length, I’m a self-portrait

framed up with the crash, the waves that growl

and hiss like a cloud’s starved belly.

 

The kidnapped two roll under the world while we

stand and shake into coats and hats

on top of Earth’s organs.

This rock is a kidney. This rock, a nerve.

Thunder Hole is a throat that clears

and we edge closer for the next wave.

Wool to flesh. Skin to skin.

 

Wax Magnetism 

A baby bee girl writhed, belly upright

on my palm. She swam out of the glass hive

as if through slush.

She stilled in the wind. 

Wide-nostriled state fair

children refused to hold her.

“She won’t hurt you,” I explained. “She can’t yet.”

I tweezed my fingers around a few more sisters, rolling them

together for comfort. Covered in field soot,

yesterday’s amber, they scoured

the cracks of my hand like tapping the veins of a bloom.

 

Another bundle of children toed, almost sneaking

up to the booth. I offered them

two handfuls of worker bees, girls

who split wax

sacs open and pried themselves

from the tacky brood. Four little girls placed

grubby hands on the glass and warmed against the soft

beat beat beat beat of microwire wings.

Their eyes were diamond pinpoints, black and focused.

They were still young.

Guard, mortician, nurse, forager.

A hum shivered through the group,

a vibration in each body.

 

For the Love of Taxidermy 

I’m trusting the raccoon in your yard to keep

you safe. She’s fond of you

and your walks together. Let her be

your neighbor and don’t damage her face.

 

Keep her real parts trophied in ethanol.

She is the shape of an apple, top heavy

and built to carry. Let her hind legs harden

with muscles from surveying the border

around your house. In your sweetest tone, call her. Fill her

 

with affectionate white noise and ether

to weigh her down. Use the correct strength

of jawset. Install in her

 

your rage, your prosthetic lion heart, your vacuum.

She’ll take comfort in woody musk, the wool

blankets, the rain, rust.

She won’t need a leash. To her

your voice sounds like bite marks,

the kind of chewing used to groom fur.

 

You’ve taught her of invasion

and of distraction. She’ll lead off your threats

with the view from behind of her ringed tail,

the burning dance of a bull’s-eye, away

and away from you.