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Dave Harrity




      Not hard to see our principality since she's a moth pinned down to a board,

posture spread to bent-winged charm—translucent paper held up to a light, wither-well

& beaten dry. Our animals find ways to exit from the skin:

hemorrhagic heart, brain bleed—

maladies eaten in, manicured or bent. & it’s said we can't control what can't be entered in:

a thousand wolves leaked into the vein,

pelvic incidental, haltered knuckles bitten down,

pinky pricked & hands around the neck. A name you don't know comes inside—chlymadic orchid

opening, matchsticks lit & broken

 under thumbs. What must be fire—what must be fire

shoulder-pressed into the carpet—janus-skimming both the knees, passed into or coming from—

the body has its ways of opening

or being opened up: a chicken split & stretched, as ready

for an oven; an apple cleaved its precious symmetry. Tell me baby what’s our name we say & sows

stampede, a thousand lives

with each cast from the last, & added back again—each word

we swallow said back twice as fast, banished into pigs. Like we have a cavity or swollen tongue,

like a cough we can’t control—

pleased to meet you we say tell me sweetie—what’s our name?

won’t you guess our name?   & all the teeth we've grinned, her bread we’ve chewed & changed, fist

between her eyes,

lung-buttoned prayer let to escape—snuffed candle, sweaty wick, dried wax

welted on her cheek.  Diving from the ledge to squeal, wet-crunching down the gulch: demons—

thousands sluiced inside her hive,

     counted up & spasmed out. My god my god my god

we say. Her mucking out—yawning mouth, pistil push; purple pollen, flower pluck. The names

the names in hamstrung contours, shucked or collared—

strained semaphore we demonstrate

the need for some restraint. Our names wrenched on the sheets, curtain torn to bridle up her mouth,

& nothing but the blood—

thousands screeching from the swine & living out the shadow of a stain.





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