The hooved girl won't hardly leave the tent.
Won't let the gawkers near enough to touch
the glossy tresses, chestnut as a mare.
Now, it's all washtubs and stolen pocket watches,
the poison boutonnière.
She'd send pigeons if she had them.
Instead, trawls the crowd for the man
with the widest grin. Spreads her thighs
against the hood of his truck and thinks
of her mother's house in Dayton full
of dresses and coffeepots.
Quiets his grunting with a quick kick
to the ankles. A quick twitch of her silky tail.
The radio glows like arsenic.
Everything gauzy as good muslin.
Her Coney Island, her vaudeville farce.
Rows on rows of debutantes.
She conjures a cry at the back of her throat.
Can taste tungsten, a little wire.
god and circus
It's all in the wrist, the dumb luck.
The dark room with its fidgeting
women. They make a noise like
a slipping. A noise like a sway.
Milk goes thick on the counter
while the preacher takes my mother's hands
and places them against his chest.
A rapture of barrettes and clothespins,
all that fastening, two and two
together. She sews herself into
god like a button, names her daughters
obscure, reservoir, bitterweed.
Keeps them hidden beneath the porch,
feeling out the dark as if it
were an object. It's my second language,
this underwater moaning. Hands sewn
tight together and the dresser plumb
with the window where, nightly, we all
escape, silver scars tracing our forearms.
Where we drown in yards and yards of blue tulle,
fall in and out of focus, my tongue
a trinket. A ring in a plastic bubble.
I travel under the guise of refraction.
No one is the wiser.
dr. harold's cabinet of wonders
after Simone Muench's Orange Girl
baton girl lizard girl show girl
rope girl gorilla girl pretty girl
bird girl little girl mermaid girl
dead girl party girl two-headed girl
weather girl gator girl strange girl
calendar girl spider girl bad girl
headless girl rubber girl cigarette girl
dumb girl call girl dog girl
diana of the hives
The night seals you in,
Eyelids, throat, the glistening
curve of your ear canal.
This body inside the body
untenable. First surge,
then swarm. It keeps for days
in jars, makes you sick
with it, wasps in the joists
of the floorboards,
drones in the blankets, their frenzied
fingers caressing the abdomen.
Every eaten queen identical to the last,
every hollow loosening to gold.