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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.

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