Turn your head
            sideways & it looks like birds, fish,
flesh—just water,
            just air. A nest of black gloves, fingers
curling toward the heart-come
            here. Come here. Now. The threats
of childhood: belt, wooden spoon, daddy’s
            fist. The same hand that brands
the skin removes
            the splinter, cracks
eggs into omelets, the unformed
            cluck wriggling out. The canal:
frozen water, stilled bridges. Nothing lifts
            in winter. Snow swirls, scarves
wet from breath crystalize.
            All has become so pointless yet
this isn’t true. Last time I dreamed
            I dreamed of kindness & wet
hands. (My ex-husband.) All is full
            of love & warmth & I am afraid
to lose it. And, if loss is inevitable,
then, it is here now. A body
            floating toward shore. A missing sock
            found in the oven.
When the dark holds
            like a wet wool glove remind me
to tell myself to offer
            protection. When tulips are open
for a friend’s hysterectomy.
            For a friend’s circumcision.
For a friend for a friend for a friend.
            I take away the first layer &
feed it to my dog. I skin
            it, drape it over a fence & build
a fire. I debone the chest, remove
            the heart. I chew on its feet
while looking up
            at the stars. (I dream) my teeth fall out.
(I dream) my hair falls out. (I dream) I cannot
            move. The heart (thumps)
in its walrus belly. The belly churns
            in salty anguish. Gums bleed.
Teeth pull like tweezers
            the hangnail. Simple things
we cannot let be simple, anymore.
Michelle Bonczek Evory

Michelle Bonczek Evory is the author of three chapbooks of poetry and the Open SUNY Textbook Naming the Unnamable: An Approach to Poetry for New Generations. Her poetry is featured in the Best New Poets Anthology and has appeared in over eighty journals and magazines, including Crazyhorse, cream city review, Green Mountains Review, Orion Magazine, The Progressive, and is forthcoming in Wasafiri: The Magazine of International Contemporary Writing. In 2015, she and her husband poet Rob Evory were the inaugural Artists-in-Residence at Gettysburg National Military Park. She holds a PhD from Western Michigan University, an MFA from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University and an MA from SUNY Brockport. She teaches American and environmental literature at Western Michigan University, and mentors poets at The Poet’s Billow ( ​