this is ownership / giving birth to something / a name or a / woodland mouse. Something / to kill before / they can get to it. You / ran away once, Bambi / left your lawn and its garden shears / the mirror where other people’s / faces appear. But Bambi / the forest is gone now / in its place is an oven / mice frolicking in flames / heat taped over your mouth / Necks of steam / waiting to die / by human hands. Now / the animals chase after you / peck your eyes / from their sockets / this is where wings / would bloom / if you had any. Bambi / beg for forgiveness / or a new piece of real / estate. Let every soft / creature ride on your back / carry them / the way a cut carries / its hurt. Blood / is your saddle, Bambi / This is the order of creation / your mother gave birth / to a camera / who gave birth to you / rivers tongue / backwards / disrobe, Bambi / your skeleton made / of forks. The camera rolls / into an apple / and you plant it / in a hunter’s maw / you want to make / a tree of him / when he dies. As if pain has a stem / as if it ends somewhere. Birds / husband the trees / orbit in sets of two / kiss & splay / branches to pale / antlers. But now / one of your antlers is glass, Bambi / light bends through you. / Haven’t you always / wanted to be / through / to be motion / more than motion. / Animals bury / themselves for safety / for warmth / to be through. What / are you digging for / Bambi? This is slow / surgery. / The soil stirring and still / no trace of your bones
steal yourself back / from their hands. Frisk / & fly away. A man once / hunted you / but all he gave you / was a warning / no one kills a pet. So be / domestic, Bambi / no one kills a pet / So sell your flesh / for fabric, Bambi. Leash / your skin to a lawn / meat yourself. Bleach / blonde, shave away / your scent of soil / and the mirror / will return you / in handfuls. Live / closer to the surface / of your body, Bambi / Learn time in the length / a bullet can travel / then unlearn it / Call this memory. You / belong in your body / the way smoke / belongs in the sky. Oh / Bambi, could you be / so beautiful / without being his / Cut your muzzle / on this wine / sleep on sheets / and he’ll wipe the blood / off your teeth. Let / your hunger out / then abandon it / a pupil drowning in the eye / There is a new / name for you, Bambi / and it is soundless. Your / antlers are handles / You don’t like / to be eaten. / Maybe you’re tired / of slotting your body / into his / Maybe you want / your face back. They / cut off your hooves, Bambi / and made you wear feet / Now you can reach / windows and / some doors. His breath colonizes / the air and your lungs ebb / fold into beds. Look / out the window, Bambi / watch the animals / sunning. Is it so hard for you / to believe they’re not / dying?
my mother says / guts and glory / are two versions / of a man. she says this by playing her teeth / like piano keys / by burying my sister / in a flooded field. / have you ever seen / the ocean / dense as flesh? / the way it shrinks from touch / backward blooming / the way a fist clenches / reminds me of flowers / and forgiveness. / reminds me of the man / who told us / rice paddies are god’s footprints / as if they are someone else’s miracle / things that are incidental: a pistol backfiring / a sister buried / a name that does not exist / in any mouth. things / that are not: the himalayas / and history. have you ever seen / the inside of a guava / its pit loosed like an eye / that is not incidental, either / not the dark throat / of night / not mother’s knife-shaped shadow / or her son’s / apple-meat arms. / some days she forgets her hands / in the sink / and her son / in the ocean. / every hour / a man bruises / our door blue / and we call this a miracle. / the snow outside / the color of tongues / water dense with hands. / the way we cut the meat / to release its ghosts / we call this resurrection / to kiss every ghost / we call this / consuming the dead / to stay alive