If We Were Meat


If we were the grey meat

      of boiled chickens


they would know better

    how to love us properly.


Would know it is best to suck

    the oil from their own lips


rather than try to parse it

    from the dead water.


Look, our bobbing girlheads

    in the pot. In the tub. The river.


All that hair and smudged lipstick.

    Is that a feather?


Look, all those gorged eyes.

    Imagine, all that sight.


Jeanann Verlee is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow and author of two books, Said the Manic to the Muse and Racing Hummingbirds, which was awarded a silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Her third collection, prey, was first runner-up for the 2016 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award and will be published by Black Lawrence Press in 2018. She is a recipient of the Third Coast Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize, and her work appears in Adroit, The Journal, Yemassee, and BuzzFeed Reader, among others. Verlee wears polka dots and kisses Rottweilers. She believes in you. Find her at jeanannverlee.com.