Aubrie Marrin

STILL LIFE

Fashion a diving cormorant
to the wall

________so that it looks like it’s flying.

____How to—

I haven’t taken very good care
of my skin,

________I’m sorry.

The body gives off
light
and the body gives off
darkness.

____________If the weather should be warm,
____________be pleased to order the Bowels
____________to be taken out and some Pepper
____________put into the Body, but no salt
____________which would spoil the feathers.

Knowing in the beginning
that there is an ending.

Removing meat from the skin—

they call this phase
fleshing.

________Take this spoon
________to my skull

________with pathological
________fidelity.

I won’t be the same shape,

I will lose my eyes,

________and anyway it’s not going
________to work,

________you aren’t
________aerodynamic—

but I want to be     still    and

handcrafted.

*

PEARLY BILL

Even as
the whole of it
is eaten by beetles

________I don’t have
________eyes for

________I don’t want

I say out loud

______rescue me
______from the mouth
______of the lions.

Pearly Bill,

________your raised red crest
________nowhere in the Sweet Gums,

gone in Arkansas’ Prairie Lakes,
in the Tupelo and Bald Cypresses,
the Oaks and Hickories—

____________Faulkner’s Big Woods.

I have a gypsy moth in a jar,
splinters from a telephone poll.

____________Do the preserved still poison
____________their preservers?

It all gathers, it comes like

__________________a wrecking ball

________to the light
________of seven o’clock.

Yes, I dream of trees.

*

BOWER BIRD

Blue-eyed, black-feathered fool,

____let’s avoid the language
____of evolution.

There’s beautiful
danger here.

Holus-bolus hovel,
dollhouse done up

____with dull shards of glass,
____blanched sheep vertebrae,

________bottle caps,
________rifle shell casings,

____pebbles and piles of nuts,
____dead beetles,

________garlands strung
________with caterpillar feces—

Baby, this all
tastes blue.

____Some damp leaves,
____sprays of fern dotted

________with aphid eggs
________on their undersides,

____handfuls of your hair,
____a blue-footed mushroom—

Song and dance,
a short bout of mimicry—

____that’s not what
____I mean.

Talk to me like a waterfall.

Blow the house
down.

________Did I tell you I can put both legs
________behind my head?

____I’ll lay face down
____in the underbrush,

________you just get on top of me.

*

SPECIMEN DAYS

The stupor passes, something else
begins.

The blue everywhere, ambulance
processions,

birds migrating at midnight—
the bobolink is there, the tanager—

birds and birds and birds.
Birds—and a caution.

______This isn’t some sort of scrapbook,
______you know.

______The bodies don’t get dropped
______here.

I turn South—and then East again
along America’s back-bone.

Convulsiveness. The great unrest
of which we are part

and Walt says the real war will never
get in the books.

The weather—does it sympathize
with these times.

What kind of specimen
are you.

What will you do with your
electric body, its mouth.

______The thyroid is shaped like a butterfly,
______remove it with a knife

______and pin it to bedroom wall, pretend
______it isn’t over yet.

*

MASTODON DREAM

Your tusks are breaking branches.

You march through marsh
all skeleton, articulated body

bare white in the swamp
the airport made.

The herons have left.

We’re alone.

When they found you in our bog
you stood exactly as you’d died—

massive body upright, legs thrust forward,
head tilted upward and gasping for air.

What mattered most to us
was your head.

______________I regret very much the loss of this head,
______________it is impossible to save those that are taken
______________out of the water, and it is in the water or
______________Mires the Most entire bones are found.

Your skeletal trunk wraps round
my waist.

We’re family.

Nipple-tooth teeth, tusks a ton each,
swagger and stomp

through the Super 8 parking lot,
past the sleeping big rigs

and diesel tanks, up the entry ramp
to the highway.

Every small town is
unhappy in its own way.

Ride, ride into the flood-lit night
and behold the warm, fetid future.

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