My Mother Knows Names

My mother knows the names of things;

The trees and their birds

The snakes that eat their eggs.

She knows the common names

The white pine, the goldfinch,

The black rat snake.

She knows the latin

The Pinus strobus, the Corduelis corduelis

Pantherophis obsoletus.

Words that sound slanted

Come out italicized

Into the open air.

I can see them leaning

On her breath on cold nights

When she identifies strigaformes

Who call their names to her

Across silent valleys.

Strix Varia

She says and replies

With a call of her own

A wild guttural sound, deep in her throat

Not the name we gave the owl

But the name the owl gave himself.

And lo, The Owl replies.

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My Girl

I guess I just wanna feel needed, she said.
No, I replied, you just want to need.
My Girl
My girl is a porcelain doll with a split lip.
My girl says she’s a fighter but
More likely she likes the beat down.
My girl’s got gardens on her hands;
Dirt under her nails and
Roses on her knuckles.
My girl’s got witchy hands.
My girl doesn’t solve problems,
She doesn’t play the fiddle,
Just dances in the flames.
My girl’s too scared to get a tongue ring,
But I know she jumps off cliffs for fun.
My girl refuses to learn from mistakes
Broken mirrors and condoms,
Broken ribs and windows.
She’s flown down flights of stairs
And run back up them again.
My girl eats asphalt.
She licks up those yellow lines,
She’s hungry for pavement,
And can’t be satisfied,
With these country roads.

The Sum of Parts

As the long harvest slips into the season of want
Will you bare your throat for the wolf
howling in the cold beyond your door?
Will you allow your blood to warm her,
allow your flesh to nourish her?
Will you lie quiet…
as she takes you into her body,
every atom of you becoming
a part of her?

How long will it take
for her to break your ribs,
to chew the muscle in your breast?
How long will it take
for her teeth to crack your skull,
pierce your pearly brain with fierce intention?
How long will it take
for her to break you into your purest pieces,
to lay your bones bare,
then crack them open to partake
of the red marrow?

The fat of you will line her lean ribs
warm her in the depths of winter.
The energy of you will fill her limbs,
and she will run, hunt, and brawl.
And when spring thaws the rivers,
She will whelp a litter of pups,
each one containing
a piece of you.

Ancient tradition holds
that when you consume a beast
you take in its power, its essence.
What will she gain from you?

Her head will not fill with your songs
and ancient stories whispered in the dark.
Those will be lost,
as will the knowledge, the formulas,
the recipes.

Perhaps she will gain nothing more…
Than your slight precognizance,
your eldritch dreams of the stars,
and a faint stirring
at the smell of mint.

As the long harvest draws to a close
and the lean months steal in with
bitter breath,
when the sun turns from its child,
when the wind bites,
and the rivers fall silent with ice…
will you bare your throat to the wolf?

A Prayer

Lord if you knew me,
You would not ask me to kneel.
You offer me your son,
but I am no hungry dog to eat flesh,
no loathsome vampire to drink blood,
and forgo humanity
on some distant promise of immortality.

I am a virgin, Oh Lord,
and will not marry myself to you,
will not barter my soul for salvation.

This is my hungry world
and I will not neglect it,
in dreams of paradise.

I will not join your legions.
Such is not my destiny.

I will not whisper
through your iron grates,
these are my secrets,
and I will keep them.

I will not let
your river wash me clean,
these sins have made me
who I am today.

It is not your right
to offer me innocence.
It is not within your power
to forgive me.

Body and Soul

Mine is a body shaped for tender loving

languid in length, soft in composition.

It has never known hunger

nor the thirst of the desert.

The smooth skin of the palms attests

to a life of leisure.

 

This body is beauty.

The lips were made to kiss,

the eyes to gaze into.

The waist was shaped with the intention

that another’s arm would circle around it.

There is a hollow under the collarbone

shaped for a head to rest.

 

Mine is a mind that hovers

on a duality of independence and isolation.

It is an Artemisian wilderness

Moonlight on the dance of a single sorceress

bathed in virginal glory.

 

Mine is a mind of cathedral caverns

in which dwell, deep and still, silent lakes.

The longer I remain hidden from the sun,

The less I see color, the less I see light.

I scream out, but the reverberations that return

to me are further evidence

of how alone I am.

 

 

The North Wind

The winds from the north bring me troubling news. There are wars raging in deserts whose names I cannot pronounce. And while these nations are distracted, stoned on blood and fire, the desert itself is on the move. The sentries have abandoned their posts and hot sands on hot winds are creeping in. The scorching air rips bark from trees, skin from bone. Borne along, the sand corrodes, erodes, eats. The wind is howling now, howling for blood, for bone, screaming for earth and flesh. And all the while the desert advances. The existence of forests is only evidenced by bone white twisted skeletons. The statues that once stood proudly and shapely, now shapeless hulks that loom cryptically against the horizon. The vast cities that once circled oases now crumble, bombed out, burned out shells, issuing forth shell shocked, burnt up refugees who don’t know what the next step is.

The gods of natural forces are rebelling. Bone has harden to steel. Blood has thickened to the viscosity of oil. Veins are now laced with iron ore. “Bleed yourselves” say the gods, “to fuel your malcontent empire! We give you eyes of diamond! Rip them from your head to pay for your war machines! Disembowel yourselves in search of precious metals! Only then will you know the price of luxury and apathy!”

The Mountains

Sometimes, I think I see the mountains breathe,

though I know it is a trick of the mist,

undulating under the full moon.

And I know that it is just

the capacity of the human mind

for pattern recognition,

and the mountains are not truly

curved like a woman’s hip,

her chest and face.

There are not goddesses,

sleeping in stone, sleeping under green,

but sometimes…

well, the eyes play tricks.