DEWCLAW CHILD RECALLS THE NAMING OF THINGS

CASSANDRA J. BRUNER

If there must be a beginning—

 

               a woman pulled me                   a lode of limestone

                                            from the creekbed.

 

                                            By her breath    

               I was made pelt & red

                                                                      red tendon.

                                                           At her touch    

                                                                                   the coarse fur smoothed into

                                                                into an opalescent glow.

                                               

               My first words:                                could my cock

                                                                         be clit instead

           

               The gusset of my neck    

                                                               milk column.

                                                            The cleft

                                                                                    of her cheek     hawk rookery.

 

                            Our fingertips     pilot lights in foreclosed homes

                                          Brushing their reflections

 

               willow strands erupted

                                                           into clouds of ultraviolet locusts.

 

All creatures     taking the chisel & kiln to themselves.

CASSANDRA J. BRUNER, the 2019-2020 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow, earned her MFA from Eastern Washington University. A transfeminine poet and essayist, their writing has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Muzzle, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Third Coast, and elsewhere. Winner of the 2019 Frost Place competition, her chapbook, The Wishbone Dress, is forthcoming from Bull City Press. Currently, she lives in Madison, teaching at University of Wisconsin.