What If, What Is (What Shall Be) — Jen Ashburn

Now to saturate my wool socks in mud.
How lucky we are for radiator heat. Safe
as a goat on a bicycle: click, click, click,
we fall into the gallant night.

No medicine for the sagging raspberries.
No guttural spit to mend the gnawed hibiscus leaves.
Let the cattle to the meadow, the fawn to a tired copse of fir trees.

Now I’m left with nothing but the callouses on my feet.
When we slice the egg sack open, I see maggots in the caviar brine.
But the fatty tissue of fish gut has moisturizing properties,
and we always have a fresh cotton towel for mopping up.