There is a rush rudimentary precision in the way
he handles antlers. I call out / bone king / antler king
But no matter what I cough out / no matter the scabbing
his fist finds the palest parts of me / so I hum white winter
to the empty vale / He burns his manhood to a sharp flint
hip swing along the ice whale of my back and I / can’t breathe
The smell / God / The smell / these smells stay with you
An estrus soaked oil rag slopped inside a clenched fist
I am reminded of dog teeth / toppled words like printing press
Forgotten articles / thick disintegrated tongue columns
Milk carton cut-out stamp thrown on an empty cartridge
the more my skin drinks of it the more ink cockles up
blots out / His eyes like a pair of bunting cedar branches
pinched loom tight during a storm / This swollen red ice shack
Frozen / Erect cake topper on lake box / ice box / My hands
pressed against a portable heater / It’s wiry palms baking / then
the paraffin lamp‘s glass glow / smoking / out the sides
He yawns -
“This is your home now.”
I am brain tanned / lost pink slush smeared on raw hide
the kind seeping through slot mouth beneath the swinging
oaken door / frost / burn / My arms constricting
to the size of a deer heart / one hundred hearts
burned into black cockles along my throat/ He laughs / mumbles
half-something’s only a Northerner could understand
says your lucky if you float / bloat / your body‘s puckered organs
like driftwood shards pointing north / I look up and see only
coughed up planets / a wintered consumption spat
like packs of wolves / their paws dancing on a glass floor
like clockwork / cogs and gears iced / over mechanisms and coppered
things caked in rust / I am reminded again of my own construction
the scaffolding loose now / once bright shiny beams unhinged
and breakable / broken metal bent at the abdomen
Brass rivets like lace parasols rotating counter-
clockwise / and soon like the rest of them / fallen
In the corner of the shack lies a tea kettle / the spout burnt
red / an aftermath of someone else / tea stained and exposed
He places his chin on my shoulder -
They‘ll only find the parts of you I‘ll sing.
He cups his ear.
I recline, smoke a half cigarette snuffed out / watch the ashes ossify.
We small masters receding amongst bracken-stale
pursed up against a carved star of birch burnt fever red.
Our haunches fossilized, bone matrix froth frozen,
breaks only to be re-beaded.
We are sewn, dismembered, fried or baked
until our yellow fat rises, roams, the smell
of a smoked rump burning the hips of a chimney.
Aren’t we just easy prey?
All doe-eyed and electric. We can smell them here,
their faces blotting out the night. The cold clipping
sound of their throats as they take in the storm.
Listening to their nostrils consume and flare, the slush rippling
over boots and the smell of their socks engorged with rain
water. They pin our ears up so we can decipher the shadow
of a trigger finger, the itch to open us up and fold through
our organs, the blood trails, the tiny streams between our thighs.
Then our skeletons, our blunted ribs
vanished beneath another bridge.
We have no cemetery or mourning grounds,
only skulls folded upon skulls as if two hands
pressed in prayer. Our skeletons sometimes lost
beneath the cape of twilight, a bed of crisping
leaves and rabbit down clouding the dust.
We remove these jawbone shards off our felt,
only to quiver and boil. We remain un-scattered
but the stink of them still stays on us.
The smell of steaming lager, rusting screwdrivers
and knives filthy with the blood of something smaller.
Something receding in the brush, a rabbit, a fawn.
Their mouths are foaming.
We smell cassette tapes chroming the skin
on their fingers. We smell the sharpness
of their mind’s eye as it folds over our bodies
swallowing our innards, the varnish of our glans.
We smell the trigger finger.
Their eyes adjusting, become thinner.
We smell the hesitation.
Then the heat from the foreheads. Lip stain
from a mother or a child. The gleam streaking
down to the welt on their chins.
We recite a song, clicking our teeth to our tongue,
an oaken dirge carved and rounded like a barrel.
No bleats and grass-fed grunts.
We are red bramble bloodying abandoned
horse trails, iced over on the shoulder of a highway
broken and bloating on the edge of a river.
We dream of bullets lodged in chambered stomachs.
The twisted fence by the crossroad, overgrown and forest green.
Sault Dog Watch Dream
The Soo Locks
black lumber f
Boiler man Boiler
man sticks a sever-
red arm into
fire in furnace
ships dancing to-
wards a brighter star
In Lake Superior black and red cargo ships
cleave through ice relics of fish prehistoric
pictures of lake spider silverfish each one just as
slippery as the last and here I am on observation deck
feet locking to the rails wishing they hadn't
remodeled floor feet lichen glass bottom boat girl
like me I beneath the sunken
Fitzgerald its ghosts struggling to stay afloat
hands reaching beneath rushing water frozen
lake beds I dreamt I pulled the silver ore heavy
on their stomachs shatter the pieces
Steady them they will float to the top
spray metalliferous in water.