excised organs

content warning: the poem contains references to domestic violence

small as pearls, seeds
explode; furry balsam pods in a palm
eaten by my own body

the tools — so small — left such precise holes
I couldn’t poke a hooked cockle-burr into my body with my pinky

cows can die bloodlessly
organs slipping from their bodies
into a shining heap

can you imagine —
wanting to hold that treasure in?

collecting hooked things
you once took cockle – burrs from my locks
like you feared hurting me

I mean — you already have
I can’t take off this sweater

I will not winnow the strawflowers, the zinnias
dark buckwheat, commas of cosmos, chervil, yarrow; let them lie
unopened milkweed pods, favas that blacken in their pouches

I’ve never surgically altered my body
for anyone — before

the mustard plants on the porch our feet threshed
their heads in a plastic bag I shake their remains loose
handfuls of black seed​

I am the only one who makes life
in this house and I am — splintered

the nature preserve sign: a heron, beak sharp over a frog
is that what you told yourself
your hand on my wrist

this is nature
— speaking

by springtime I will have eaten myself
half a dozen times over

Langley Hyde
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