Girl Chooses Flight
She bought a black dog
because she wanted bad luck. She drove south
as far as the dark mood would move her.
And on the radio – nothing but Christ & zydeco.
Once in heaven – once in hell –
you don’t get to come back & try it over.
You don’t get to call back Lazarus.
She drove long hours through the parched towns
& two-pump truck stops of the northern parishes,
the highway striped with blown-out tires,
her hood & windshield black with love bugs
locked in mating.
And then the swamp before her
like a ballroom with the lid torn off.
The air at that first hour
had the sheen & hue of polished silver.
Slender tree trunks, weathered gray & splintered,
poked through still water.
A voice said stay. She stayed.
The girl seemed to stay like that for days, a fixed star
in the emergency pull-off lane.
At night the black dog blanketed her & at dawn
they pressed their faces to the glass. Hard to say
what she thought of then. Or what she waited for.
Then the god appeared to her in denim.
He asked her for one kiss & when she dodged
he spit into her mouth.
After that, the girl’s hair grew golden
& sticky as corn silk. After that
the girl spoke only lies.
Signs Resembling Sacraments
When the rooster won’t rise
& the loaves won’t sing, find the girl
& carry her to the riverbed.
Hold her under
until her hair fans
the riverbed’s darkest smoothest rocks,
until her eyes loll in their sockets
then snap awake.
The water ripples when her lashes flap.
We do not know precisely
the nature of this sin’s
transmission, only that
a tongue once split
will not flare up again
in flame & speech.
So hold her
longer. Her nightdress is a puff of smoke.
The water cools & calms her.
If she rises now, her ribcage will be a tinderbox,
all spark & ash. So let the river
have her. The current will carry her
to where the river opens
its mouth to the sea.
The Venus Flytrap Diet
I’ll cook for you. We’ll roast the tulips
over coals and dry sauté the pistils
until the pollen smokes. A caramelized
eye of lamb. Strips of venison
salt-packed to keep off the rot. Flanks
of salt cod stewed for hours until the meat
sweets itself. Carnivory has costs:
your almond eyes will pop
when we refry your collarbones
and thighs. I was born into this taste for flesh.
The forest canopy is smoke-heavy. The ferns
bob against the heat. The interlocking spines
clamp tight and suddenly your world
has walls around it. Suddenly your eyes
have lids. Your teeth won’t run.
It’s just as the old women whispered,
their tails lashing the cookfire’s embers:
women first deceive, then kill.