What Animals Are Admitted To Paradise
Mountain goats have climbed their way hoof and tail apart to the tallest
peaks and leaped with lockets of an old man’s beard. They say the
goats that make the leap and survive, the ones that make it
across to land on the other cliff, get their shadows turned into clouds.
The other goats who fall, we honor their sacrifice and paint their horns gold.
Kelp is now used to stitch back together the burnt skin of beloveds
left in a burning building. The kelp keeps moisture in, the salt cleans
The wound. The big question is will
The kelp skin cause the hand to smell of barnacle?
Yes, the graft will make the beloved crave seafood and salt.
They will also develop a new ability to swim in boiling water.
We keep the keepers, those glorious goats
Self-sacrificed in the color of blue, in the origin of pottery.
The birds do not fly in the night clouds, fearing
Their wings to be clipped and left bleeding. They
Say these white wisps were made of the pubic
Hair of virgins on the marriage bed. The hair braided
And bleached light from urine. We see gold where we want to.
A black cat gets stuck in the jaws of a slumbering bull.
The bull has no appetite for fur, but the cat remains there
Playing dead, his pink tongue peeking past canines.
Later he loses a leg and his skin grows green, craves sardines.
What is poetry? It is the mountain goats scream as it leaps
Its way from one side of a cliff to the other. It is the moment
In the scream where he realizes he has miscalculated, that
His hooves won’t make it. Poetry is the sound the scream makes
As it descended through the canon, the very moment before
the skull crashes against stone and turned to gold.
How many more acres of fig trees must burn to wake
the dead with gold horns into spring.
A New Frontier
A tiny black and white cattle dog runs alongside
the plane, chasing down a Canadian goose.
He’s legendary in Michigan, and for the split second
when the space between my vertebrates clenched
and loosened and we hit pavement, and we hit it hard,
I thought it was you incarnated to dog. I would have
guessed a monkey, a jaguar, and iguana,
but never a sheep herder. He catches the goose,
before its neck and feet twisted into propeller,
its body a union of feather and metal gears.
A man who taught me to write told me that I
was the type of woman to laugh in the throat
of death, I could kill by just looking at him.
Feral and all, he told me I was what a woman
should smell like. Could he smell the blood between my legs
caked on the sides as I always forgot to change the pad?
Let’s be honest, I enjoyed bright turning rust.
I still love blood in snow. It turns me on.
Unlike my pad, the snow holds it in place,
the air too cold to turn it into anything. I was presented
with rape as when rather than if. My mother trained
me to turn a key into a weapon and X-ed all the spots
that would take a man down to his knees.
This new frontier is a littered landscape of hacked off
nipples, the lips of cunts soft as apricots and left rotting
under polished boots. Nothing can save us from violence.
Unlike you, I don’t ache to have children.
They terrify me. They could rape or be raped or die
and then what? What do you do when you produce something
that’s broken and can’t absorb it back into your being until
its healed? I lined my legs with pellets of honey. No bees stung.
Nothing happened because I was the poacher. Guard down,
out I went to the woods with a hunter. He wore suede skin coat
with fringes and turquoise beads, an inheritance of pipe smoke and cologne.
He promised to take me to see a dead deer, eyes black of flies,
sprawled out and belly hacked. I thought it could be you,
so we trudged in knee high snow. My nose dripped red dots
along the trail. White on white is dizzying
and I confuse the sky for ground, both heavy from holding
the bones of the dead. I trailed behind the tanned suede skin,
further into the woods, and suddenly realize the space
that’s missing between my legs. My weight collapses the burrowed
tunnels of squirrels. The hunter brings me to a circle of logs
where you weren’t there. No deer, no organs split out and held by snow,
no flies or puss. Blood marking my face ugly, No trespassing.
His hand smears red across my cheek, trying to forage
blush he presses it further in then turns to set down the suede
coat. For a second, the wind swept into the sleeve and the deer
that was promised was there. He dragged me closer to it,
all the wind had been knocked out. How heavy his hand
rests on my shoulder. I pissed myself a little.
Unarmed, I felt the weight of the falling snow. The hunter tells
me that my eyes are turning. Ten years out, I come
with green eyes, when raped my eyes are large and hazel
for days afterwards. The hunter pulls my hand to his pulse.
I can only hear mine. I wonder if he can smell my fear.
Is this what makes me more of a woman?
Does this make him crave honey and blood?
Here I am presenting my throat to the hunter, the peeled
skin of you, a deer waiting for my own blood to spill. I look down
at my own makeshift trail of blood and run back, back to the main
road. I hear the hunter yelling to stop. He wants me.
Later the hunter sits beside me, where I’ve built myself a fire,
my hands don’t warm. Our bodies are meant to keep close to the source.
I’m too young to understand that it’s just begun.
There will be others who don’t promise me a deer, who don’t
promise to be gentle, who don’t promise the moon
or leave a mark for belief even after I say no.
There will be other hunters and they will be thirstier,
and they will push me down in a bed of snow, in a bed of sheets,
in a bed of wooden floor boards and pallets. I will wake in winter after
a ten year sleep and find myself with legs bent and broken, my stomach intact
but my cunt ripped open and bleeding, a river as large as the Mississippi.
My eyes turned balls of black flies. The bed doesn’t let me sink
further into the ground to join the other bones to be later dug
up by a black and white beast. Here my bones are pierced with light.
My head facing you, a hawk circling.