Let’s begin with the heart,
compact and chambered
as though there are rooms
dedicated to one thing,
then another. I want to be the course
of your body-bound veins, to burn
around you. I want to climb
the great gears of clouds up
and up, let the sun grind me back
down— powder and light.
I hardly know
how to change. You said
at least one of us should be sound.
Yesterday when I cut
the snake in two with the mower,
there was surprise, then
regret. What do we do
with a cleaved body? I asked.
Although you didn’t know either,
you suggested birds.
Stephanie McCarley Dugger’s first collection of poetry, Either Way You’re Done, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. Her chapbook, Sterling (Paper Nautilus, 2015), was winner of the 2014 Vella Chapbook contest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Arts & Letters, Cider Press Review, Gulf Stream, Meridian, The Southeast Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, and other journals. She is an assistant professor at Austin Peay State University, where she teaches writing and literature, and is Assistant Poetry Editor for Zone 3 Press.