We used to drink rain in the garden until the fruit fell & rotted. Now,
I wear a scarf of frost & claw at the wounds below my skin.
We folded our feathers at dawn perched in the fruit trees & sang the holy songs of our Father. Lately, I barely lift my head to gaze at the horizon.
Tribes used to mold clay & worship our Mother until the mountain’s blood drained into our rivers.
I wake up screaming–– each morning one more feather on the tip of the tiger’s tongue.
I’m learning about life from the bottom up. I mouth the names of things light doesn’t touch, like roots that grow in the gaps between our words & songs sung by the dead. When it rains, their voices rise like fish to the river’s surface. I bait them with soft bread until their brilliant scales are a chorus in my palms. Their songs are full of hunger, so I eat for them. I sink my blade into each belly, and where the edge meets their flesh I see flakes of snow, a glowing red puddle, and Jesus standing barefoot in the mud.
-- Russell Karrickgrew up in Newburgh, NY. He is currently completing his MFA in Creative Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Westchester Reviewand Magma Poetry.