By | 25 September 2019

Every day a beetle has its bowl of grass.
Every day a nip of mouse is pursed
up in the articulated ribs of an Eastern Brown.
For each breaking of a Heron’s fast: a nail of Perch
headfirst gulleted and gone, slideways,
to bone pellet and chalk splatter.
After all, who eats and who is eaten
is most of the fundamental law of
God, and rule of man, once the granite words of
Thou Shalt are shaved down to the meat.
Plodding sauropod with galled glut of stone,
sharp gastrolith to husk a gizzard’s nut,
for rhythmic crack beneath feather, behind scales.
Saltlick wallow, supper and repast,
for horse lips, snorting elephant and brick-
headed rhino. Mudpie and dirt sandwich to
tactile toddlers, storing their sensory explosion:
snot tang and caustic sliver of soap cake.
Once in a non-retrieving hound, a starburst
image of a set of keys. Once in the carcass
of a whale, excavations and blubber landslides
revealed the pitted beak of monster squids:
dense axes and arrowheads, shot in a
war of glimmerings and nitrogen bubbling depths,
and once when the gush and amniotic mess
of small fish were hooked out of the blanched
wound of a Great White, a flop of arm
waved onto the deck like a flailing eel.
After all, we are only what we eat,
and what eats us inverts the pyramid of teeth:
staphylococcus circus, smearing in our bloat,
putrefactive fungi, motley and carnivorous,
japing puffballs in our ears and at our nose.
So you eat and eat, or not at all:
abstinence makes the heart grow fonder and the
stomach smaller and ultimately we are finite
transformations and sharings of constant matter.
For fifteen years the cat ate the same
grey pebbles of cat food, but through dumb
alchemy, made bones and teeth and splits
of needling nails and presents of fur: squeezed
up anonymous and unclaimed sods of bile.
My daughter harboured hair nibbled from
her ponytail, slick ink nib or shoe lace length,
cribbed nails and flush knuckle blunted. Such swath
of hair in snips and absent-minded bites.
All clippings caught and swallowed in
twenty years of stress until it heaved in her
like last summer’s bale, black smutted or peated,
until it cemented into a stew of rocks and pain:
Rapunzel climbing down her wind of hair
to never leave, a knotted hank crimped
and bouldered in her gut, far from a prince.
Each day’s dinner chipped from briny flowers,
beaked parrot fish scraping up a beach of sand
in cultivated garden of coral, flocked in water.
Then there’s The Frozen Man, crammed
in a shallow grave of ice, Ibex bacon,
glassy grains of rice, last meal cooling
into petrification in his stomach, as the arrow
that devoured him hung pitiless in the snowing air.
Stones to weigh him down to death. Each post-
mortem begins as we lived, with stomach contents.

This entry was posted in GUNCOTTON and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Related work:

Comments are closed.