by C. E. Janecek
C. E. Janecek is a Czech-American writer and an MFA student at Colorado State University. C. E.’s poetry has been featured in The Florida Review, Permafrost Magazine, and ellipsis… literature & art, among others. Find more online: cewritespoems.com.
This poem was longlisted for the 2020 Peach Gold in Poetry with guest judge ALOK.
The dark fur beneath my belly button
is a newborn hedgehog, a fetal
pig, its teeth soft and spongey.
Black tar snakes slither downward;
I pluck androgens like fire ants,
vicious red currants.
I erase the path to my handsome
phantom bulge, the cindering
between my legs, the way I
profile in the mirror, searching
for some tenor. A barometer
begs for brassy shouts, but
I am all sonar. A porpoise
blip, a white veil, my wight wail,
my black hairs plucked from bath
water. I scrape the stone
from my teeth, calcium
softened by peroxide. Hissing
red currants, I pour the juice
over my sternum, stare
at the spider on the ceiling. I try
to build my bones from memory:
bird buckled wrists, a foalish quiver
in my tendons. I’d rather be:
hard-lined, like Jenga blocks
or toadstools. A bone house
vaulting overhead. A skulled
dome, a rotting log I can
holler into, hear the echo swell
like a bug bite on my throat—
A red vein raptures through me.