An Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbits
First it looked like a pig’s bladder, then a cat’s paw
& afterward rabbits, one after another.
Eleven in all fell from her warren. Creatix of colony,
Mother of mothers. An inedible feast unto herself.
Taken before she could coddle the wet fur, before she
could lick her lips in anticipation, the doctor pickled
their slack bodies & lined the jars on his mantle.
Stillborn meat poisons the blood. So many believed
this to be true. A country woman births a brood of rabbits
So many said she was hungry. Starved.
& when she lost her unborn child in the field,
a cunning woman offered her a story, so as she would
never want again—You will give birth to rabbits.
You will take the claws & body of a cat, the head
of a hare, & insert them into your open book.
Make this story yours. Ink it in the blood of your womb.
Sounder of Pigs
It’s some November night on St. Mary’s river.
The moon screams its bright white,
a feral hog’s shriek assaults my ears.
This morning, we crossed into town
to buy earthworms. Now we stand,
baiting our hooks in the dark.
I twirl the worm around thin curved metal
without looking, a muscle memory I never knew
I had, and jab the plumb, noiseless body
over the tip. The man at the bait shop
chawed musky tobacco, a deliciousness
of salvia and disregard I will never taste.
You know, dem hogs crash thru the pines
faster than spilt ‘shine, tear you up just’n
bad too. If’n you find ya shelf in a thicket
of herd’n boar, don’t holler or nuthin,
just let ‘em ride thru. Dem tusks will’n carve
you up nice if you take to wail’n.
It is not the hogs I’m afraid of,
it’s the punishing way you lay me down
on the sand and tell me that I’m not allowed
to enjoy it. Not the crisp air that raises my flesh.
Not the weight of your body as it enters mine.
Even now, in winter, the mosquitoes hum
from stagnant water and make a host
of my body. Their need more tender
than yours. To pierce and take only
what they need, as little as they need.
Hair of the Dog
For My Brother
I told the boy his brother was buried out past the barn,
under the old chicken coop. The coop itself was long gone
but its cracked foundation still marked the earth.
I told the boy his brother lived and died before the boy
was born. The small child with all the heart of a newborn cub,
believed this. The boy asked what his brother was like.
I told him his brother did all the things the boy did not
want to do. That he was good in every way good can be.
That he was bright in every way bright can be. That he died
suddenly and nobody knew why or how but they knew
he was under the coop. The boy asked how I knew
and I said because this is what I feel and when we feel
enough it is true. The boy asked if we could bring his brother back.
I told him we would need hair of the dog, to lay on the crack
in the foundation where his brother slept. The boy whimpered.
He was afraid that the crack wouldn’t spit his brother out
but close and his brother would stay under the coop forever.
I asked him why he thought this would happen? Because, he said,
I feel it. I picked the boy up, cradled his soft head, damp with sweat
but hot. His hair smelled of sugar maple and campfire.
I held him for a long time until he was nothing but a little fox,
squirming in my arms. Then he bit. Tiny ruby specks
emerged above my wrist. I dropped him quick and angry,
off he scampered into the crack, down into his brother’s world.
Trista Edwards is a poet, land mermaid, light witch, horror enthusiast, creatrix, traveler, and dog lover. She is also the curator and editor of the anthology, Till The Tide: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry (Sundress Publications, 2015). She is currently working on her first full-length poetry collection but until then you can read her poems at The Journal, Quail Bell Magazine, 32 Poems, The Adroit Journal, Sou’wester, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and more. She writes about travel, ghosts, and poetry on her blog, Marvel + Moon. Trista is a contributing editor at Luna Luna Magazine.