Annalynn Hammond


A girl cut off her favorite breast
and held it to her ear like a conch shell.
It did not make the sound of:
     milk and honey
     one hand squeezing
     tender veal
but bit her neck like a dangerous lover
and whispered: now free
I will wither into a dried fig. I will forget
your heartbeat. I will be mother
to the maggots. You will remain lopsided,
walking in circles. I will rise
and the birds will go crazy on my dust.


The man who had a shovel for a foot
spent his whole life trying not to become
a gravedigger. He tried being a:
     flower gardener
     diamond miner
     water pipe layer
but the shovel was heavier than he could manage
and everywhere he walked deep trenches
would open in his wake. The children
kept falling in, falling in, falling in,
and their parents would mourn along the edges,
faces growing distant as the moon, the shovel
persistent as stone.


God made it so horses and snakes cannot make love,
but in a hidden field with a creek shaded by cottonwoods,
when God was sleeping, I saw it happen. The cries:
were deafening, even the barbed wire was shaken
from its posts and did not know whether to gallop
over the horizon or slide under the rocks.
Fish came to the surface to gulp in the froth.
Bees gathered the shed skin to build new temples
around the grassy bed. God, awoken, gave up
science to Satan, religion to the four-hoofed egg.


This is the body I found. This body has a mouth.
The teeth are angry, pure, silent, cold, ringing. The tongue
is meat, eats meat, the meat of the...the tongue is three lovers:
     the tongue
     the tongue
     the tongue
this body I found curled in the road, limbs strewn,
the head shot into the crook of a tree, whistling
and rolling its eyes, the smoking heart splattered
on the center line, giggling, farting, pumping its juice
into a puddle on the asphalt, the dirty crotch
humping a street sign, a mailbox, a tire, still trying
to make it anyway it can, still trying. 

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