That is rather slippery of you, Agent Starling. / How do we begin to covet, Clarice? / Have the lambs stopped screaming?

By Lindsay Lusby

That is rather slippery of you, Agent Starling.

When the truth is small enough
to fit in your cupped hands,

you chase it with a broom
to every corner of the house

to pin its bristling body there
against the papered cabbage roses.

When it beats between your fingers,
all sinew-snap and barbed air,

you will know it is less hope than feather,
more crush than bone.

How do we begin to covet, Clarice?

after L’Air du Temps, Nina Ricci

When a look is not enough,
you must dig a hole inside her

and bury your ruin there.

In the hollow of her,

offerings of clove bud and oakmoss,
sawdust and rose-water.

Smell the florid rot of want,

the humid musk of need.

Let them choke on each other
until they are one blurred retching:

a wintering hawkmoth

pulled whole from your throat.

Have the lambs stopped screaming?

When you find him,
will you ask

for a glass of water
for a handful of sugar

to use the phone?

Already,

she is hanging inside him
from a meathook,

a field-dressed tenderfoot
swinging by her ankles.

Does he know

that you know?

When he is asleep,
rip him open

like a barndoor.

 

 

 

 

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Lindsay Lusby’s poetry has appeared in Sugar House Review, The Lumberyard, The Feminist Wire, Fairy Tale Review, and Midway Journal, among others, and is forthcoming from Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Her chapbook Imago was published by dancing girl press in 2014. With Jehanne Dubrow, she co-edited The Book of Scented Things, a poetry anthology from the Literary House Press. She is the Assistant Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College where she serves as assistant editor for the Literary House Press and managing editor for Cherry Tree.

Art: “Treasure Beach Goat Skull” by Michelle Johnsen

Michelle Johnsen (art editor) is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine, EcoWatch.com, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by AP, weather.com, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers.