There's a man who pulls a red thread from your lungs
and ties it around your wrist to mark for later
when the light is better to cut. A man whose five
fingers leave prints so easily, that point
to a bird and it's his bird, that point to a body
and calls it his as if to name things are to own them as if to own
a body is to meld all the good
parts together and call it monster. There's a part in this song
where the distortion shows through, where he cuts through bone,
takes your hand in his, and tells you about the dream
where he pulls your body from the ocean and tries to dress
you in his polo shirt, his khakis. It was morning, sweetheart,
you were so beautiful, he says. You only wanted to steal his voice box,
his tongue, so you could sing the low notes. They only listen to those
low notes, how the hero moans. Not how you wanted to gulp down the sea.
Only the Dead Grow Best in the Desert
Today, the sky’s all sun and momma
strokes the brown of her zucchinis,
her snap peas, and cries as if her tears
will be enough for her garden to grow.
It’s important to have living things,
she says, as she rubs mulch under
her eyes but it’s all dried out. Dust
homes in the curve of her ear, the dip
of her clavicle, her shirt folds. Once,
I saw her laughing under an overhang,
mud splattered, dripping. As the sky
swelled, she sank still in her body
and drowned. But, now, the earth’s
cracked through like skin in winter.
She kneels on a rotten apple, sooths
the tomato plants like little crosses.
Caitlin Ferguson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University—Newark. Her work is forthcoming from Tar River Poetry and can be seen on Toe Good Poetry.