Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-six
Winter 2014
The Sparrow and the Snow
Annie Virginia

For you, I learned to open beer bottles
with my bare girl hands and a thick-bladed knife.
I didn’t mean to need you
to see the danger
I can do to metal. But your body
is a sparrow battered by snow,
and I can boyscout you free from emergency.
I know a thing or two about beartrap burials;
look at my bedsheets.

Don’t believe in the hunters,
that they gnawed you open.
Look: what shoulders you’ve built
pulling closer to core by pieces.
So small you’ve slipped through the teeth,
pulled your legs into knots, and shaken
your wings into pine.
More storm.
The blizzard tombed you inside itself
and trapless, I would do the same.
You would still be buried, though
I never meant to need you to feed
from my hand.
It’s the way I want to be gentle
but the scalpel becomes a pickaxe.*

Here: I’ll show you what’s after
the stolen surgery, how I can release
violence from my palms, a fledgling
I’ve nursed with stitches.
You look like its future.
I’ve been waiting to become
anything that can’t strangle you;
I will only ever lure you yes.
Tell me the secrets I already have.

Far before I knew your name that echoes blood like mine,
I observed the way things fall and rise and practiced
opening. It did not require a knife; often, we do.

*These lines borrowed from Joshua Marie Wilkinson

About Annie Virginia

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