Seann F. Weir
It's evening in the thorn-thick
middle of winter, Romulus wears
his mother's lice-mauled pelt.
He does not question the climb
of crows, he trails their razor-licked calls
to the fringe of a meager village dozing
at the jaw of an ice-shawled river. He hunts whole
families snared in sleep,
he smells their dirt-blushed meat and sinks a flank
of flint into their spoils. Trenching through blotted
snow Romulus builds rat-sized temples
out of bones, at every threshold.
He claims a foundling-daughter, plucked
from hovelled-sleep, her howls cleave
like hooks across the dune of his chest.
He carries her into his winter,
warming crow eggs in the coils
of her coal-smattered hair.
Two Children Grow Fur in the Woods
Clubbing our feet rib-deep in the chest
of the forest, you shook off the fleas of luck
and said sooner or later let's get sated.
I sharpened your teeth
into a cavern of daggers.
You boxed my ears plump
as Cupid's piggish gut.
Both shellacked in mud we lost our clothes.
I trailed our suckling need. I sieged a citadel of bees,
their stingers sunk in and listened to my skin.
Not enough, you nibbled on curdled blood,
squirrel's meat and marrow.
I braised your limbs in honey
to groom your fur and spice your blisters.
Your laughter stuck to my skin like oil sieved in a duck's wings.
A dozen voices came looming,
they snuck through clusters of rusting leaves,
one belonged to your mother jowls full of hunger
like a child's mouth before the charity of teeth.
She loosed a tick-fondled mutt, the slinking pup sledged
his nose through our weeds for the stink of our heels,
my knife wiggled into his throat
you plugged fronds into his leaking fur.
I don't know where all the voices went with our names.
You spat against the snowflakes shelling the trees,
until we wore strips of frost in our hair.
We quivered, cold as an iceberg's spleen on the back
of our favorite frozen lake, I heard your throat shake.
I collected your song in the well of my mouth and
fed your drippings to roots casked in winter's stupor.
We plunged down a cave's gullet, we planted our limbs
in the snake-lit dark, warm as worms.
Let's shake the trust out of our fur
until morning bleats
and repeat, we keep what we eat.
You smuggled your father's baby
all last winter. It wore you like a sack of moose-hair.
You asked frost
to thicken its jellied-nerves.
You ate sonographs of its limbs.
You became shelter. You leapt down
stone stairways. You spat down your navel.
Your father washed your purloined
belly in almond milk and worshipped
your cargo. He told you, never kneel.
In you lived his heirloom.
He locked in you in an iron-brassiere
until your wedding day. I do not
I know your father slept three inches
from your room, he slept atop the towel
your mother used to wash you.
Your delivery room was a bed of shale,
your father served as doctor and nurse.
I know your trophy was a raddle of ivory blessed in silt.
Trespassing, every third Sunday, I saw you
waning like a bankrupt moon
at the end of harvest.
Birth is another way of saying
inheritance curdled in you.
Now, I hear you praying
to broken flower pots.