"If you lived here I'd never get dressed."

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Issue 12: The Necessary Ear

Issue 11: The Necessary Eye

Issue 10: Out on a Limb

Issue 9: The Missing Body

Issue 8: The Lily

Issue 7: Passages

Issue 6: No More Tears

Mary Biddinger


Doe's muzzle on my neck
felt too forward, like a man
unzipped in the lunch line.
Morning smelled of geese.

I dragged the furniture
outdoors, whipped it with
reeds. Quilts still warm,
damp from sleeping. Guns

in the distance. Snap like
my hip in the kitchen,
on the counter, stove jets
tuned, clicks and breath.

A game of gin rummy
to distract the barn owl
roosting in our front porch
rafters. Nine years earlier

Beth Clark shit on your
mother's clematis vines
as I waited in the Pinto.
You in a paneled back

bedroom, trying to grow
your first beard. Didn't see
my black hair, or that bag
of junior mints on the dash.

Our maps north. Or handfuls
of flower down Beth's jeans.
In the hatch our backwards
tent and opera glasses, tin

cup and saucer. You were at
the rocks that night, sliding
down the ravine on your torso.
Arms stretched, mud slicked

flannel. I could have ridden
your back, slippery man.
All the way to Escanaba.


Bird Bones

Empty me. It's autumn
and we're still here
in the pink of it.

Who said anything
about marabou, hair
rinsed in rainwater and ale.

I'm better in trees.
You won't have to search
for nipples in my shirt

once it's November.
I'll put it out there. Canada
geese wander into the yard

like they're reading
my meter. I don't mind
the company. Boys next

door shadow the thicket
for a glimpse, as a pheasant
skitters onto the clothes line

and away with my garters.
Why the red, and not tangerine?
If you lived here I'd never

get dressed. Serious trouble
when shopping, lawn mowing.
More practical in Florida.

You can bend my arms
any direction without a snap.
Follow the muscles of my back

in your Buick, like that might
bring you deep northwoods
fast as gunfire. Your wolf dog

sleeps best at my feet. You're in
these sheets, oak and willow,
match that sets a house burning.