What offers a skeletal peep. Feather-smear,
mostly gullet—agape for the secondhand
upchuck grub, bolus crammed iridescent with
carapace and wing. A holiness, this helplessness,
the mother’s tireless, kenotic reconnaissance
ending every time with her head bent
to her nest of tidbit beggars, X-ray translucent,
the tinder of their bones radiant beneath.
All hollow. The aerate marrow, the grand
opening of brand-new guts, the gimme
litany squalling from the eternal central
yawn, the same way I wake each morning
crumpled and ravenous, limbs stilted
as puppetry, to light like an afterbirth,
wondering if the soul’s a vestigial investment.
If the sky—bloodshot, placental—
is beginning or ending. What might fall, when
I wail, from above toward my wide-open mouth.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.