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Three poems by Katherine Gwynn

Where the Marrow Lies


You feel both so new and bone-deep,

to me.


you’re right there, when I crack my femur--

just there, where the marrow lies,

floating, flotsam light, on your back.

I thought marrow was soft, yellow-white,

like bacon grease,

fat easily slicked and scooped out

with my fingertips

but it’s firmer than that.


A food blog I found when googling

“do bone marrow and love have the same texture?”

tells me animal marrow is a delicacy and that it is

unctuous

and I repeat this word as a question each night

to my splintered femur,

to you,

as I wait for you to sift yourself out of

my platelets, and red blood cells, and white blood cells

(you sway your hands among them and

marrow does not have as much give to it

as I thought but

they all ripple out from you regardless,

quivering,

like waterlilies in a pond).


And after I’ve waited, and the waterlilies are still,

and you’ve risen from my bones

Each night, you touch my cheek

With the pads of two fingers--

a yellow-white mark left behind, clinging, like a petal--

Just before you press them to

the open gasp of my mouth

and I lick them clean.




Chimera


It’s like I’m an

animal

But more than an

animal, I’m a

corpse of

crows or

A herding of

buffalo,

Running across the firebrush of burned plains to make way for

New growth

My hooves or my wings--

I forget which I am,

What limbs have been ordained for me--

My

hooves or my

wings

pressing charred bone deeper into the dirt


5 eyes,

and 10 ears,

and 23 bellies,

and 46 legs

and 77 arms,

I have too much and too little to make sense of


I churn and I echo and I grasp for

something 3 dimensional,

that takes up Space

in the way one is supposed to take up space


I cram

between the gaps of every

atom

I can grip

between my teeth,

But they always split into

quarks,

into

smaller

pieces

I can no longer see

With all my naked eyes

they stare back at all my naked eyes and my too much body across the dinner table

And every flap of my skin


triggers a flinch from them,

And every quiver of breath in my throat

shuffles their shoulders


they possess so much less bone and sinew than I do

but somehow

they

loom

taller

than I can ever manage to straighten my spine

to

reach

my tongue hanging thick down onto the ground

onto the floor, my body

one constant stutter

made up of

bastardized typeface

a language they can’t wrap their hands around


I’m packs of flesh and fur and feather stretched

Wing to wing

Hoof to hoof

Tongue to tongue

to

Move in synchrony to

Move as

one,

I’m a

Pack, a

Herd,

A corpse

Snouts arched in the air,

Beaks snapping at the clouds

scent of blood in the sky—

Striving for something

Else

Some other kind of

animal

to lay within my

body.




Host


I think all women smell of you


which is to say the way I think you smell is the memory of the way you

dragged yourself across my thigh,

the knots your hair tangled into my mouth,

the shake of your vocal chords against my teeth,

a hum for grief that hadn’t surfaced yet.


They,

which is to say the women,


all women,


move past me in shapes I don’t recognize,

or have never seen.

Just been told about,

around campfires, from old men with chewing tobacco

staining their teeth black,

the flames keeping us a safe distance apart


But I still try to move just behind them,

these women

Hide myself within the shadows they cast across the dry earth,

the cracked cement,

Imagine they are more than shadow,

hoping an imprint can nourish and fill the gaps,

catch the scent their hair leaves behind if they have hair

And if they don’t,


then take a torch and lift it up to their faces,

the heat burning the hairs inside my nose, just to see if it is you in another form,

another body taken over


Which is to say I would weep,

heaving my body under water, under the earth, under the smell I’ve told myself is yours, is you

Because I wanted to be the only body you ever left behind

Stepped out of like the husk of some creature

lucky enough to leave their skin among the dirt




Katherine Gwynn is a playwright and poet. Gwynn's plays have been recognized by the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference (Currently 2020 Semi-Finalist), the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship (2019 Semi-Finalist), Ashland Play Festival (2019 Semi-Finalist), LezPlay (2019 Finalist) The Great Plains Theatre Conference (May 2018), the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (2019 Semi-Finalist, 2018 Finalist, 2017 Semi-Finalist) and the Women in Theatre Program, where Merely Players won the Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award in 2015. They also were awarded 1st place in the William H. Carruth Memorial Poetry Contest and 2nd place in the Edgar Wolfe Award in Fiction (KU, 2015).

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