Stirring : A Literary Collection

Thomas Bates


The pregnant mother beside me crouches, sputters
and I know something awful about Wednesdays
spent in heat. I explain the sweet smell
is courtesy of the clover and the vats of cattle guts
boiling into a thin, red paste
like sex coiled and evaporated on the hips
of some retreated lover. I am reminded of my mother,
eyes thick as rubies baked and split
over my birth, squatting me out.

But this one is slip-knot flesh and bone.
I can see her ribs pinching out above a great lap,
can see through the sack, twin calves,
their spines as sharp as uncut jewels, a sharp
hollow shank on this one and dangling from the other
what looks to be a penis, both have legs.
I am jealous of her, that she can synthesize the beating
of three hearts, find mirth at some internal quake.

Solomon would set her in half. I would take the one
with hazel eyes, a long neck and strong forehead thick with black
hair that will crease and boil to vinegar. She would take
the thin one, transparent and all cartilage,
the beautiful, caramelized one that sticks to the insides of the pot
and cleans when it slides out.

Location: Fort Collins, Colorado

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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