2 Poems — Susan Slaviero


We were in love with French poison.
Both of us slept, locked in glass bottles.

The house had manners, hysterical dreams,
yellow daisies, rheumatic fevers.

We were emerald, opalescent,
water & wormwood.

At home with secret vibrations,
where even the grass is violent.

I will tell you the story of a hammer,
pour you a red drink, brush the crumbs
from the table into a cloudy rag.

Maybe we are in seven pieces already.
Maybe we can’t identify the body
from its bones.

I pluck a vertebrae from your spine
with a pair of tongs, let it settle
in the ice bucket.

There are horns under the house, limestone,
blind kittens, fungal blooms.

You form cataracts, see a good
Texas girl in a paper dress
blue smoke, a cigarillo.

She is a ruin, this thing.
Your name turns in her dark mouth.



I dream myself a fox;
I steal your skin.
This is the story
of naked, mutate.
What witchery is this?
During the tornado
you heard an infant’s cry
in the dry dirt. It’s coming
from the tarantula
hole, you think.
How is this possible?
You line the doorways
and windowsills with bone
dust, coat the shotgun
bullets with white ash.
You are afraid of the coyote
at the window, the owl
on the roof. They could be
me wrapped in a borrowed pelt,
a curse-object, the subject
of lore you don’t believe.
You don’t believe,
but still there is a gris-gris
in your pocket, just
in case. Break this stone
in case of emergency; hide
the pieces in your den
and wait for moonrise.
I am an excellent mimic.
I seep into your marrow,
spill over
onto the carpet. Together
we firewalk, your heart
in my fist.


Susan Slaviero is the author of CYBORGIA (Mayapple Press 2010), Selections From the Murder Book (Treelight Books 2012) and other works. Her poems have appeared in Story Magazine, RHINO, South Dakota Review and the 2014 Pushcart Prize Anthology, among other places. She lives and writes in the midwest where she can often be found watching horror moves, baking cakes, and taking power naps.