by Emma Bolden
Because the Body Is a Place Strange Unmapped
I walked the rented city, the swath of sod
beside the creek. I walked the landscape I knew
as land until I knew it and its cold as intimately
as oxygen, the banks beaded with so many eyes
I couldn’t understand seeing. And when the first
feathers first needled through my arms I mistook
their beginnings for a rash. I lotioned and long-sleeved
each arm they pricked by calamus, by rachis, the smooth
wash of vane. By these means I became. By this I mean
I was naked and not naked, the way the animals are
naked and not naked, the way they are in their bodies
and not in their bodies, their faces stuffed with teeth above
the delicately wired trap of a jaw. I thought I’d learn flight
but I just found feather, the secrecy of dark and star and beast.
House Is a Hoard
House stuffs its walls with mice and men’s
magazines. All fall, House hosts an exhibit
of squirrels and their acorns. House has
a hard time letting go. House keeps
its upside-down electric outlets and House
keeps them upside-down. They stare
with their slots of eyes, their small mouths
open always in surprise. House doesn’t care
about your toolbox. House dares you.
House dares you again. House is an artist
of rain and its remnants. Your tarps
and bathtubs are parts of its installation.
House doesn’t care for your plans
about that couch and that new television.
House constricts the narrow throat
of its hallway and when you try to move
that chair you’ve always wanted
in your bedroom to your bedroom, House
reminds you: your will is only
your will. Your will is not a wall.