Lower Forms of Life
The trees and sky can be ripped away.
Behind them you'll find a peacock.
When his tail opens flames eat
what is left of the picture,

including the peacock,
whose feathers are made of a lace
my grandmother gave me
on my twenty-first birthday.

I put the lace around my thigh that year,
put on a white dress, and a man's head
appeared below, asking after the cake.
The people took pictures of my golden thighs
and we drank champagne with dark bubbles.

The bed trembled beneath me
and outside, snow fell furiously.
The position was lonely.
The ceiling cracks opened
and blood flew brightly.

A child with thrashing feet
sullied the blushing gates.
She came out greedy for air, screaming.
The doctor's hands choked her squirming body
and I decided to give her the one chance:
I told her everything would be visible
in the golden fleck of my left iris - - -
all there was to steal from me - - -
and her snail ear twitched
under my hot breath.

--- From All the Gold Hurts My Mouth
Katherine Leyton
©2016 Icehouse/Goose Lane
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