Hecatomb, Ren Gay
Hours after the dishes and knives have all been scrubbed clean
from the feast and even longer after
the pulling the innards from
the still warm rooster,
I palm myself and instantly recoil.
Wretch at the new found familiarity;
the warmth, the same positioning of the hands,
the tenderness in the half second before the violence.
My fingers, barely pruned, shake as I wash my hands yet again,
rotating through each of the scented soaps;
eucalyptus mint lemon orange.
A week later, I am following the barbed wires as if they
were a gilded road and after
pricking my finger on the sharp point
smear my iron on the flaking bark of the trees.
I am what crashes through these woods.
If there is not yet a cryptid who resides in the local legends
then let me become it.
I, of practiced feralness,
touch the flaking lichen sucked dry of any moisture
and transmute it to rust.
Transform this whole forest into the resin of a post-post industrial revolution.
If the spring flowed, it would be sludging oil,
the same as clogs my veins and airways to near stoppage
making it impossible to catch my breath in hills.
I still feel the visceral and my mind adds back in
the nauseating scent of roasted bird
and every scabbed-over cut on my leg reopens at once.
Ren Gay is a Pushcart nominated poet and artist from Fargo, North Dakota. Her work has appeared in journals such as Anti-Heroin Chic, The Laurel Review, Qu Literary, Ghost City Review, Gramma Poetry, FreezeRay Poetry, Persephone's Daughters, and others as well as the anthology What Keeps Us Here.