Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 7 • Fall 2003 • Poetry

In Heat

Shannon Holman

A chicken is not a bird and a woman is not a person.
-- Russian proverb

The house turned blue around me, and I went out
hunting damp morels, goatsbeard, plump snails,
whatever the words loam, peat, rut point to.
I carried a round dark stone in my red mouth,
tasting her blood, hint of nickel, compass.
She was beating wings to my streetlight,
a well of glinting pennies, wishes coming.

These days she sleeps asunder,
legs and arms flung outward
like the broken-winged owl
I found as a child.
My father fed it wild rabbits,
whose necks he broke.
He spun them around his head
and then snapped them against the table.
He said, They have no feeling.

I bring her dinner like a tomcat brings starlings.
Mussels, bread, a melon, cheese -- she's given up utensils,
wipes her shining fingers on the bed-sheets.
There are days I want to crawl inside her,
swallow her from viscera outward.

Those salt moons, your fingertips
indelible, like the shadows of people
on the rocks of Hiroshima.

We've reached the point of quickened mornings.
She dresses in the bathroom -- claims she's chilly --
I think of the hen that ran away from the hatchet.
I know how love goes just like I know fucking.
Here comes the ending.

I dreamt she was scraping away at my belly.
It was like an apple. It fell in curls.
Last night I went drinking
and came home shoeless.
My key wouldn't fit in the door.
I lurched awake at five
in a kind of fever,
my fist in my mouth, that thirst.

Shannon Holman's poems have appeared in Crowd, Diagram, Goodfoot, La Petite Zine, Pierogi Press, and elsewhere. She studied poetry at Oberlin College and New School University and is the poetry editor of LIT magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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