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From Feral Girl

than my skin was inside me

faces, like mistakes
going on

Gam would have said does-it-hurt

foreheads spun

as damage crawls along floors
or breathes through baseboards

or someone gives you a thing after they’ve taken more away

more parked at the bottom of the stairway

more kicked itself and doesn’t move


I would

I would like if

I could, to take my skin to the fields
let it dry on top of tassel rows

clouds press their prints

and when I put it back on
             no one could shut me

roots still spool from any rocks
I fit in any litter



wash your face, Gam said,
I want to look in the trunks,
chortle at shiny

she’s a wink shiny, pets my hair

fingers to zippers to blister
            and best of all to orange taffeta

wash in it

taste the point of a sharpened crayon

spluttered tangerine
blunt on the tongue

we don’t need to try it on



throwing themselves away, fairy tales

ball up a page, ball up a fairy

hop across the floor
             please to you very much

the floor lays itself down

before the teeny wings come
fizzly back
            please to you very much

remembers things open

a flower wouldn’t know the floor’s promise, no,

please to you, volume has a mouth

to amen


in the woods there are two

switches, two ridges,
            acrid spice toward unguent

two creatures, beat and all
                       wild as vulva as muscle

turning, prescient things stop their prescience

glister of urine on a leaf

pungent steam, they are more toward
than approach

thrown pink of flash and time



where a tail would be

                         is a begin to     a begin in

civet needle scorching

as a look

that would like to be covered
           with a body so musked it

                        full clasp of
                        fit full of and and

a swell I don’t know who of

                                   full and taking

              nape in teeth

Daneen Wardrop is the author of two books of poetry, The Odds of Being and Cyclorama, with a third, Life as It, forthcoming later this year. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Poetry Society of America Robert H. Winner Award, and her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Southern Review, AGNI, Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She has also authored several books of literary history.