Christy Crutchfield's works have appeared in Mississippi Review,
elimae, Necessary Fiction, and Juked, among others. She was recently
awarded the Daniel and Merrily Glosband Award in Poetry by Keith
Waldrop, and she is the Associate Editor of Keyhole Magazine.

Let's Create Our Own

Norma stopped performing rituals in the front yard.
We only see her on the way to groceries.
Today, my nephew grows a Sweet Baby,
but no one eats honeysuckle here,
not even children.

Last night the neighbors killed ivy with hatchets
and each of us woke to them dead in the morning.
We stuffed grass in the jar.
We decided firefly is the prettier name.

Norma, let's create our own rituals.
Let's buy a Sweet Baby and punch it open.
It will be juicier for the attention.
Curl your tongue to spit the seeds.
No one will question your form.

We behaved enough not to shake them,
while the neighbors hunched over knees,
but fireflies don't eat grass,
so they must only live for twenty-four hours.

They've Taken Down the Sculpture of Whalebones

But everything is bones.

Squeeze a lump of clay in your hand
a tiny sternum under glass.
It's all under glass, checkered skulls
tiny skeletons in doorways
in dollhouses

I touched mammoth tusks once
the insides like paintbrushes
and once a guide pointed to two whales
stripped down to bone
one inside the other.
They're born backwards, you know
tail first. Mothers break water
then baby's first breath.

And this must be
where we get breach
the baby you would be
if they hadn't cut you out
the way your babies would be
but you have a scar.

The guide said, that's not it
at all, and by this time
we'd closed down the museum.

People Fall Down in Winter

Because this is me and that's not interesting.
The snow is gone and now the roads are crazy.
Water seeps from underneath
the holes from underneath.

I will hang a silver octopus around my neck
for self defense. My friend spent rainy afternoons
watching people slip on the smooth concrete.
The cold is not gone at night and I have a hose
I have a dangerous staircase.
But this is me and you think I am nice.
I will hang a silver leaf around my neck
and people will say I am nice.

In summer, people land on soft blue mats
or on springy tan floors.
In winter, they're not so lucky.


After three generations
domesticated foxes
turn black

After stealing a recliner
at midnight
it won't look so attractive
by morning

You should dream
about a dress and wear
it tomorrow

You should match
music to what you see
in the rearview

After growing to full size
Wolfhounds were said
to chase lions in Africa

After seeing the pregnancy
test in the bathroom trash
you'll notice PUSH
on the door

New leg traps
do not have teeth
but can still break
an animal's leg

New harmonies
sing from the ceiling
when your octaves
are in tune

After sunrise
if it's still trapped
a coyote is said to gnaw
its arm off

After a drunken night
under a woman
some men are said
to do the same

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