Photography, Poetry, Pulp

Christina Beasley

(Vaguely) Recent work: Lusus Naturae

Colonies

 

When the last fish head rolls onto my doormat,

quiet and waiting, I know that all hope

 

is lost. They will take over the lawn next; tilt

forward their nasal spines until each

nostril bursts with dandelions. Grapple onto these

and draw themselves forward by the root vein of petty

weeds; like princes clinging onto damsels. Trace

impossible steps between garden gnomes because

this is probably a dance from an Andy Warhol print

they once purchased. One sighs to another as

plant food latches nimbly to eye socket, and it adjusts

the tie that is red and surely glued on. Coughs politely

asking to be let in, soon, it is hot outside. They shift their jaws

anxiously; wait for asylum from Singapore, or India or

 

the parts of Chinatown where English is a dead

language but Atlantis is far more dead. 

 

Anomaly, Anatomy, or, Animalia

  

This particular breed of hedgehog will only

sleep inside of your corpse at its freshest:

The first of them slips into the furrow dug by

careful morticians between your bellybutton and heart.

 

They, too, have pupils: widening when there is no

more light. Treading brisk on a ligament highway,

pointy and abrasive, rest weary heads

on your spare kidney; an excellent pillow.

 

Muscles relaxed with the weight of them,

they do not eat you, of course. Hedgehogs

are insectivores. But your liver, stuck to one's leftmost

of quills, is wet and thick. A cosmos pours out and

 

it is a good thing that hedgehogs can swim. Do not

mind a warm gully of blood against their spines,

amongst all four toes. Lick your bones and shroud their pores

in your scent. Scientists call this process, "anointing."

 

Their nestling and grunting akin to what a baby does

as it settles into its mother's tired lap: replete;

 

satisfied in your boisterous unmaking.

 

The Last Frontier

 

The internal anatomy of the sea anemone is rather

intricate. I swam through one's thick mouth and saw

 

a burial ground for Indian bones; broken-told

dialect that Oklahoma isn't big enough anymore–

 

there are too many dead warriors for

the space between Walmart and Wendy's. Wyoming

 

is too wet; reservations sopping with liquor, Nevada's

women too loose. Painted with gyrations like slack

 

beads. The only suitable place for a grave:

the bottom of a boundless sea, the pliable sides

 

of a casual animal. Landscape dense as peyote; delicate

as cut petroglyph. This species can reach the size

 

of a bicycle, a baseball field, a continent of ineloquent

and sacred hurts. Amenable to visitors; anemones

 

are scavengers. If the gullies of their folds cry, seep

and wail, it is injecting poison into pallbearer bodies–

 

it is a creature that is soft and violated. Like the soil

thrown onto a funeral mound. Composed of tiny, beaten pieces.

 

Every night, grievers mourn into its belly, they leave

their loves. This, their only place. The why of new worlds

 

always to leave the dead in them. 

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