Give me a few bees in the throat and a small blue bowl for mandarin oranges. Bring me a pair of
lemon-yellow panties, a waterweed crown. Tomorrow I’ll hang my bathrobe on the wooden peg
and cruise whistle-clean through my book of transformations: goatweed glassywing
one-ply milk money cabbage rose crocosmia moon-marked skipper
elderberry dart. Let the saint on the back porch roam. I thought my faith was a dark blue
dress with silver threads. I thought the valley was everywhere. This hot night makes me keep my
window open. This is an invisible gift beating its soft wings, a small kingdom dripping from my
ribs. If you told me once, I didn’t believe it. This is mercy, singing like a spring lamb to its mother.
Mercy, the way I smash bugs against my body to kill them.

Megan Denton Ray, Cattleheart
Photo Emily Denton

PlacaterWithBeets

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Lupercalia, Ted Hughes

I

The dog loved its churlish life,
Scraps, thefts. Itsdeclined blood
An anarchy of mindless pride.
Nobody’s pet, but good enough

To double with a bitch as poor.
It had bitten ears and little stone eyes,

Excerpt:

Canasta Susan Wheeler

Mind your own beeswax or you’ll be tarred and feathered right here and now. Ray, the dog’s got something in her mouth. While you’re up, would you check the ham?

You and the beast’s belly, its short sleek fur,

its odor of a world beyond the curb. The tail

rises, the fur fans out—

No, just see what the temperature is up to. Oh, I’ll do it.

That’s what I was afraid of. Dan, she skunked me.