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Lungfish

the placable nature of the orange poppy, its minor passions, its rippling ease—

the garish revenge of its red cousin, opulent prayer, perilous, red as only it may be—

the peacetime prattle of the dappled Percheron prancing in its plexus of weeds, impossibly perfect, it must be muted, this beauty, must be murmured or motioned to but never spoken outright, never ogled, like the sun it must be felt         not beheld—

the grimgribber of lovers, the brute braying and grunting and soft nuzzling wordishness      unpronounceable

as the pull of the moon from her window whereby she finds herself planted in a wheat field, mesmerized, thoughts from her body separating like oil from water, the wheat blowing rhythmically, the lungs barbaric, cruel assemblage of breaths deepening the injury, she mutters mild oaths, she muses on the dualism of her country, its mania for marriage and war, the worthless rock in which valuable metals occur, and concurrently the pegomancy of landlocked sorcerers, the resourcefulness of the trapped rat chewing through flesh...

and this perhaps elucidates the gridelin brume exhuming a smooth, implacable stage

a sterile place

in the bedrock of her being, her grimoire ever a war, delectus and delenda, what is selected

and what is subtracted, to have both gills and lungs, two apertures for breathing in the disparate countries of the heart, an adaptation                      from which she travels far

in pursuit of the source, the rivening, the hand that halved, the thing that moved inside and made her two. every story is an origin story.

This poem was featured in Meadow Residency’s Summer Field Guide 2018.