Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-two
Summer 2013
He Was Only A Symptom of Her Hunger
Kelly Boyker

I.       The Descent

As a virgin shaped from a secondary bone
whose lips were sewn together by a protective mother,
her numbness became a strange inconsolable beast
that paced and panted in the corner of her bedroom.

She was lured
by freeway overpass signs,
highway ditches, dome lights,
pale hills and ruined shorelines,
hitchhiked her way to the edge of a barren field.

Her absence burned recklessly in her mother’s womb
who went house to house,
knocking, knocking:
Have you seen my daughter?
Called every hospital within three states
searched alleys, wells and abandoned factories.
Eventually the daughter’s face appeared on milk cartons,
children gripped their cereal spoons
and stared anxiously into the depths of her disappearance.

At the mouth of a coalmine, God stood
and she, so starved for sensation
took his hand and was led downwards,
through tunnels braced with rotten timbers
small brown mice chittering in the corners
and in those moments the lacing on her lips
dissolved, and she hungered.

It was not pomegranate seeds,
but huckleberries
she had to stretch her neck out
as he laid the fruit upon her tongue
one by one
staining her mouth,
furring her throat.

She could hear the baying hounds far above,
later the whuffing of cadaver dogs.
Time rotated on a hinge.

Her love for him was as one wound to another
healed wrong
a disfigurement
they both wore on their faces
as warning.

II.       Exiting the Submerged City

The ground gave birth to her,
first her head crowning,
then shoulders, breasts, stomach, hips,
pelvis, legs and finally feet.

She walked away from his realm
and entered the world in grief
her departure an exit wound
or an unswallowed pill.

There were enchantments and other lessons
all rushing at her in a stream,
nothing seemed as it should
shadows cast as slackened muscles
poppies bloomed in her footsteps.

One day he rang while she was out
grocery shopping.
He did not leave a message
for being broken apart
could attract
the hunger of others.

As conjoined twins, separated,
she held his loss
between clenched teeth
and finally understood
the loneliness he taught her with his body.

Behind her, the fields burned orange,
red, then black.

About Kelly Boyker

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