By Canese Jarboe
Ars Poetica (scavenge)
A female alligator snapping turtle will collect sperm—
it over several seasons. You know when the time is right.
I carry you by your carapace and push you past aluminum threshold
to truck bed. You crawled all night
to lay your eggs in the icebox of the ditch at sun-
up. I recall they found one of you down in Alma with a musket ball
embedded in their shell—saw men running
and gutted by bayonetlight, muzzle-raw. I scrawl
my name into your belly with a pocketknife, a sigil to bind you here.
I will eat your heart to make me brave. You are full of snake,
crawdad, filaments of hair.
If I cut off your head, your body should live for nine more days.
Your eggs are soft and warm in the hole you’ve dug. I swallow
them one by one hoping to feel them hatch in my hollow.
For Safe-Keeping, Consider Placing Your Soul Inside a Coconut
I am a ghost in a yellow bikini & I am waiting
beneath this banana chandelier.
Ode with Intrusive R
Have you ever had your mouth warshed out? You can taste lye, harsh on your tongue. Little sting, little bitter. Her hands in your mouth, a woman with a barn on her back. A woman with 50 lbs. of flour on her back. A woman with a warshrag—scrubbin’ the floor, carryin’ this whole house on her back. Here, we are always warshin’. Here, we live deer to deer. Everything smells like iron. I reckon we’ve all set snares, burnt our fingers raw on a frigid barrel. O, sharp stars. Don’t they needle you so in the winter? Beside them, these antlers are half-ablaze. Warsh my hands, your hands—this blood.