Carnivore in Love

The bomb opens like a pocket knife
& so we sit inside it for hours.
Now, bombers toss finches out of the sky’s
white belly & descend, silent as skin,

into the stratus gums. We catch the birds
in our laps and see, with wide eyes,
how simple & dead light unfolds in our leave.
They unfurl their small bodies into peach pits,

paddies that spring only teeth into the hand.
We quiet our fists to split bark, rooms steeped
in childhood & mercury, & bury them in alcoves of marble.
In dark rooms, we wear prayers on our mouths

like oil glazes & duck our heads for roofs
collapsed into light, bones burned white as old winters.
We unroll the blue fallout flood like a carpet,
pressing our foreheads to the seams

until we spit the fires from our own jaws,
spring them up from old skins instead of ash.
Once, we were thick with brine & marrow,
slick in the palms of men who grew

shrapnel like skin. But now, the air thickens
with our teeth, gnashing and thunder-dark.
& the men have vanished into a roll of mosquito coil.
Now, we find nests of bullets between our ribs.

Now, we are new debutantes, hungry for pearls & salt—
& so we spin the green rain around us as a new veil,
taking razors to our hair for new prophecies.
Now, we count each ember the bombs cough

up from their thumbs as the black tufts take root—
no doubt, there is something holy in the way
things burn, how carpet bombs purge themselves upon entry—
like how our brothers once doused themselves in gasoline

& wore saliva in the caves of their hands like a switchblade.
But it is our turn to become smears of unfired light
& wield this red torch through the air like blind women.

& for a moment, we can hear our names shot out
of the barrel of a Kalashnikov: shucked & napalmed.

 
 

Kathryn Hargett is from Birmingham, Alabama. Her work has been recognized by organizations such as the UK Poetry Society, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Alabama Writers’ Forum, and Princeton University, among others. Her work can be found in The Adroit Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Gigantic Sequins, and elsewhere.