Poems from Jacqueline Sue Farley

To Call Her Woman

She is Woman.

She is female

crawling down on her belly,

mucked in red river gravy

and scrambled over her eggs.

She is Woman.

The sun watches

its tongue lap at her wet nose

as white stones called scales

dig holes in her dorsal fin.

She is Woman.

Man becomes another face

admiring her beached back,

bent and licked clean

beneath the pad of his palm.

She is Woman.

She knows this spawning

by the lure bobbing in her bed

like worms in the dirt

know of grosbeaks.

She is Woman.

Man angles the hookword

as a jagged curve

against her cold-cut cheek.

He reels because he knows

Woman has never meant female.

Woman is fish.

Woman is baited

on a translucent wire

and courted with worms.

She is Woman.

Her earholes run deep and still

so when Man says “Woman”,

it falls alive,

retching and screaming.

She is Woman,

but if she let him call her that,

he’d fuck her

until the water

begged him to stop.

The Appetite Collector

I know you still hunt in the shadows

of my underwear drawer. You learned

to forage through a buffet of bodies

until you can’t remember what the word

hungry means, how it tastes like a bloody filet

staked beneath a stiletto heel or how it burns

down your throat in pairs of hot white stripes

to the boom box noise of Machete Kills.

If I had been caught between the bars

of your cage, locked jaw, and molded

into the dinner plate you eat off of,

you’d have me feed you for a thousand

hot summer nights on the floor of your garage,

my body halfway slid beneath your red Mercedes,

my back drenched in a puddle of oil

and sawdust and sweat. You’d carve

your initials into my stomach with your tongue,

your faithful instrument, glistening and silver.

I’d be just another cadaver to you

shoved under your bed

as soon as your mom knocks on your door

to ask if you want any tater tots with dinner.

I realize now that she knocks

because I’m not the only body she’s found

here smothered in unwashed, matchless

white socks. I see you gutting me, spilling

my sour mess across the maroon throw blanket

that you kissed my shoulder under

when you asked me if I was a virgin.

I’d just exist in the dugs of your digits

as leftovers, Thanksgiving giblets,

frantic scraps of unagi over a molded bed

of rice. You cannot keep me

between your teeth to pick out

when it’s convenient for you.

I refuse to linger in your mouth

like the rest of your curiosities.

I am now taking back my taste

from lips that I never belonged to.

Wedding Bones

This is the swan-making.

It dives deep down between

twenty-eight pearl knuckles,

indulged in stringing sticks

together with shear knots

of silk tendon. The chime

is hushed and rattled, breath

pressed from a dead man’s stroke,

and hung over the neck.

Swans nest as vultures do:

Words like please and hurting

are not heavy enough

to pin the fingers. The right

to ceremony pours

wax over those old bones

after they are worn out,

like wings in the white heat.

About Jacqueline Sue Farley

Jacqueline Farley is a senior undergraduate student of English and Creative Writing at the University of Arizona. Her work has thus far been published in Colorado Crossing and hedra Helix. She currently reads poetry and flash prose for Sonora Review.


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