The journey of history begins with hunger
and the reach for its end. The orchard’s
in vertigo. Leaves gather in halos
about their mothers. And when every apple,
every dappled blood-red orb, offers
a little world, a lysis, you take it.
Thoreau once said, the gun gives
you the body, not the bird.
And so this orchard gives you winter,
not the apple. The molded, hewed world
of bodies in parallel formation, reaching out
to be reached for. Don’t we just want the body?
Just yesterday another boy took a girl
behind a dumpster and used her body
to reach his own end. This is not healing.
Her body reaching for flight, for day
to be greater than night. For the rot
to rot faster as the boy mauls her
like carrion. Thoreau was wrong.
There’s no body without the bird.
Can we handle this bird, this possibility
of flight? When we pull the trigger
and snap the ripest apple from branch,
come at it with teeth, are we not asking
for punishment? Not for the taunting
fowl of hunger but for ourselves—
something greater than or equal to
the darkest unforgiving appetite.
After Ada Limón
Tell the hunter and all his hounds,
the rabbits they chase down the hill,
the blacksmith’s sooty iron hammer,
the sparkles that fly from his strike;
tell them all the myths are true.
I am rabbit. I am those tracks
they follow further into the wood
under growl and starlight and branch.
Tell my mother I’m bound in iron,
that I’m chained to stake and set
to burn. Tell all the women they can
inhale the smoke of my skin, hair,
heart—that it will root inside, deep
in the belly like a heavy daughter.
Tell them, I will squeal under the heat,
that the scorch won’t be silent, that Satan
didn’t blackened my soul so there would be
no blister. And they will tell their children
and their children’s children and books
to come, they never heard a scream
so devout it made them believe
they were the wicked ones. Tell them all
I was but a name. Scapegoat. A girl.
And for this I burn, for this I bellow.
Trista Edwards is a Doctoral Fellow in English at the University of North Texas. Her poems and reviews are published or forthcoming in The Journal, Mid-American Review, 32 Poems, American Literary Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, The Rumpus, Sou’wester, Moon City Review, and more. She also edited the anthology, Till The Tide: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry (Sundress Publications, 2015). You can find more of Trista’s writing at Luna Luna Magazine and at her blog, Marvel + Moon.