I first tried to kill love back behind the woodshed, neighbor
talking over the fence and water barrels full of dead squirrels,
lilac blooming, vegetable gardens where I married myself
to myself and enough plums to make your guts ache. All the
while I wished bloodletting were still a thing — to purify, to
wave lit sage inside my old skeleton and shake the dust off
the bones, scoop bad marrow out and serve on thick bread
before the surgeon comes back with his notepad and bad
news — things I tried to forget are bloodclots on the tablecloth;
everything a dinner we never eat, just moving our lips to the
sound of the wind, turning our knuckles white with fear-grip.
A butcher’s carcass on the hook has more to cling to, if I’m
being honest: a pendulous swing, a certainty, a dripping out
and being milked into the afterlife as sous-chefs stand around,
or avoiding eye contact.
Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised feminist poetess ghost. She is the author of Salt is for Curing (Sator Press, fall 2015) and chapbook My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press), and is a poetry editor at Fruita Pulp. Find her by saying her name five times in front of a bathroom mirror or at sonyavatomsky.tumblr.com.
Ben McClendon is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Tennessee. He previously studied poetry at Northern Arizona University after teaching high school English for several years. His poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Yemassee, Chautauqua, Redivider, Rattle, Word Riot, and elsewhere. Ben lives with his husband in Knoxville.