When the family dog goes missing, you go days
without showering & coat your gums with moss,
take to comb & spray your bush
thick in artichoke. Admit it.
Fall & find him in the woods. His head now
unrecognizable, a black wool of flies sticks to him.
Bring him to the meatswap & trade his skull
for a bundle of beets, his teeth for peonies.
With machete in hand, hack open the belly
of a pregnant cow. With placenta shriveled,
you crawl inside. It’s winter. There is no more light.
Strap a deer’s face to your own.
Take antlers for ears.
I stripped ink from my Kodak film
I could bring torches here & kill
birds & bats- they’re confused by the sky’s reflection
now people go around no copper on front doors
the separation from diseased from healthy
those gap toothed spaces
equipped for the modern frontier
All bulby & flushed white.
Sent on the first of May for G’s Birthday.
Just a year ago I swore to oath her in silence
after I told her: “Your friend
who you saw yearly at weddings
& who visits you & your little family,
who you see concerts & break
bread & spill egg yolks
over brunch with. Yes. Him.
He raped me.”
A beat & the room goes mute.
“He raped me.” A beat. Beat.
Me: “He raped me.”
“He raped me?”
“G, can you hear me?”
G did & said she doesn’t believe
it’s a type of hunger
he is capable of.
The Lilly of the Valley delivered
to her home. It is a good home &
my nephews find the box covered in dirt.
A year in & I moved to California.
There the dirt isn’t laced
with chips of plates or lead paint.
There are snails & earthworms,
the occasional tiny beetle.
There the dirt is reading
itself & I box it up in vases.
Sometimes I plant an onion bulb
in Mason jars. You have to give it
time as the bulb will shed
into stalk with a tower full
of tiny white bells.
I’m moving back to New York City
to be closer to the Cathedral
of St. John the Divine where
I’ll sprinkle Californian dirt
on the marbled altar with a carved baby
lamb all in gold. I’ve got too many oaths
to take & keep a small knife
in my boot. It’s a hunger
G doesn’t know.
Don’t be mistaken:
I’m not one of the dead,
all fanning & white.
I lay out in velvet craned
above a porcelain bowl.
I’ve turned to purges
of dim sum & pork buns.
I’m all for eating tiny pillows
all stuffed & featherless.
My hunger has become relentless.
I file my teeth & keep them sharp
they’re cutting into cheek,
my tiny beets.
My hunger has gone bad.
My good sister doesn’t believe
in such cravings. At night, in dark
I’ll roam past each stoop & ironclad
doorway searching for that son.
That son of a bitch.
I’ll press his head
to the ground & make him
sniff the dirt & dig,
his fingers dirty &
that son will be reading
himself a grave.
Ines Pujos holds an MFA in Poetry from NYU and lives in NYC. She is the cofounder and Poetry Editor of Print Oriented Bastards, an online literary journal. Her poems will be appearing The Journal and Salt Hill Press and has been previously published in Cosmonauts Ave, Powder Keg, The Adroit Journal, Day One, Bone Bouquet, Cimarron Review, Gulf Coast, Phantom, Hayden’s Ferry, Puerto del Sol, and Verse Daily, among others.