The 2River View 28.2 (Winter 2024)

Erin L. McCoy

Campo de’ Fiori

I walk past stalls of wet apples to where four split hooves hang on fat-
marbled haunches, a neck’s slick tendons and the lamb’s pyramidal head.
Where I’m from, the creek limps through groves of walnut and every year
a few teens proclaim they are born again. That boy with the radish chest,
shoulders shrugged to protect his razor-nicked jaw. Ashamed for what he
hadn’t yet done, and for the waste he’d produced since the first furred skin
that came sewn around him began to flake away. All was descent from that
sack of newness. But as the lamb was born almost clean, it was sheared
of its failings when that spoiled skin was sloughed in a single piece
from its interior life. Black walnuts like skulls when you crack them
open: apertures for many eyes. These could see my defect, a meek strip
of mud where God should stream in. That boy and I, both born ashamed
but for different reasons. Oh pall oh pall oh pall of the nodding tree above
letting through here and there here and there            a little light.

Mosaic at the entrance to a dark room

If the moon is setting, what? I’m supposed to frown & eat it?
The ground is made of impressions. What’s
another stone down? Today a wolf vomits
the meat of a hare. It curdles out its bones. It squirms 
there, wet leveret in the anteroom. It stirs like Vesuvius
jitters pebbles in Pompeii. Who sees? What can
it hurt? Today a wolf picked tiles from its teeth.
I am among these, I passed through the turnstile,
felt the weight of soot upon me, etcetera. I go
& I go. I run away from my fevers, see everything
I should see. I feel nothing. I think I am immune
to feeling. Or I hope this. Which is the opposite.

Erin L. McCoy has poetry and fiction in the American Poetry Review, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. Her work has twice appeared in the Best New Poets, and she was a finalist for the Missouri Review’s Miller Audio Prize. Her poetry collection, Wrecks, is forthcoming from Noemi Press. (website)
<< Michael Lauchlan Gary McDowell >>
Copyright 2River. Please do not use or reproduce without permission.