a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
grow back the damaged parts of me
I am both metaphor
Mary Star of the Sea, Venus, Isis,
an oceanic constellation.
Look closely at my five arms. Do you see
how they scour the seascape for prey? How each one is sensor and actuator?
My hunger an invasive wrecking ball, annihilator
of coral reefs, exterminator of the smooth handfish.
You think regeneration can bring back
all I have destroyed.
I am without blood, brains. Not goddess. Not astral body.
My ten thousand undulating tube feet feel for you.
Your kitschy sea star décor
makes me spit out my stomach.
I’ve been called—
shape shifter (even the adorable Vulpix
becomes something with nine-tails).
I’ve been mis-gendered
until I ransack the chicken coop slay
too many to carry to cache
and then I’m a he/him a dog-fox.
How do I grieve? By leaving the rabbits alone.
By killing to kill.
If I cross your path it’s considered: good luck bad luck
a sign from the dead a threat a wake-up call
a divine message
my coats of silver and fire my delicate face
the perfect way my slender body slips beneath the wire
and into the coop
could portend your fate.
messenger to the gods
a symbol of longevity now
pest, tick host, yard eater, victim
of suburban sprawl.
Grazing on azaleas, rhododendron
beside your condo complex
I startle you offer
no tail flick, no white flag
my ancient facial glands (one beside each doe eye)
pumping out pheromones
to mark, claim space—
Cindy Veach’s most recent book Her Kind (CavanKerry Press) was named a finalist for the 2022 Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal. She is also the author of Gloved Against Blood (CavanKerry Press), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and a Massachusetts Center for the Book ‘Must Read,’ and the chapbook, Innocents (Nixes Mate). Her poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, AGNI, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, The Journal, and Salamander among others. She is the recipient of the Philip Booth Poetry Prize and the Samuel Allen Washington Prize. Cindy is poetry co-editor of MER.