‘Bigfoot Thumbs a Ride’ & ‘Animal Bride’

Poetry

Bigfoot Thumbs a Ride

Once, there was nowhere to go. Nowhere
to get to. My movement through the slash
pines and saw palms was pure physical
expression. I reached for this or that bit
of food, scooped from the freshly dead
some raw softness, the gist of its body.
The world was right there, offering itself
and there was nothing else
to understand. Then the people came
with all their demands—show yourself
and go away. Always and, never or.
The people want the world and what is not
the world. Everything hidden revealed,
everything visible concealed. Impossible
creatures. Meat is not enough for them.
They must have salt. They must twist
the white milk of mother creatures
into hardness. Everything into hardness.
So I stand by the tooth-hard grey snake
they built as pathway for their capsuled
charging and lift my arms into the air.
The twin beams of their approach stretch
open the darkness like dawn, or the dawning
of realization, like eyes widening in terror.


Animal Bride

Can ordinary women be so lowered? Once,
I carried the day in my silky down. I bathed
in opaque, knowing pools. I was like everything
in turns—a swan, a mule, a woman, a bitch—
and I understood the world. Knew what it wanted.
Because birds want sunshine, worms want clouds.
Because a dragon’s shriek can bleak the land,
farmers stuff their ears. Wolf-jawed men want
to anoint themselves with milk and milk just
wants to move from one darkness to the next.
Of course the thief who stole my skin wanted next
my hand. The labor of my womb. I watched
our ugly, hairless children grow, bound
as much to plunder as to plumage. They wanted
me—mammary, mammal— but not my joy.
So fastened, I sought feathers— my chance to bolt.