Three Poems by Nora Hickey

“These / swords want to split something, and I dream / a plot of whispering teeth.”

Three Poems by Nora Hickey

Anatomy Lessons
for Di Seuss

There is an altitude in my mouth

I cannot identify. I think of all
the green tongues
of my plants. Want

to show them: my womb is bigger
than my heart. The only two
organs inside me. Tonight

I get so animal I bark. A mammal
in my bones stirs. My skin is so
defensive I can barely see. I meet the poet

ten drinks later. She teaches me about thirst:

there is a resolution
in the body
for desire
.

The poet discovers a herd
lost in me. Her eyes — twin coins
flashing a scummy truth. Her hair —

some rope of earth. Her tits —

call them two new moons, fists of
sun, paws marking her rewards. She looks

at my collection of hides. She scents
the room orange. Her wings
grow large

and she shows me
a Mountain. It is a body
ruptured. A bird

headless and winged.

I Met Thirst in a Forest

My rings slipped off
cold fingers. I was returning
from a wake and wanted
to see the geese framed
flying in blue. So many jagged
windows. The dead
was someone I knew
in tiny ways. Like geese
droppings on a lawn. Waterfowl cover
the open fields at night. Melting
into another’s neck, a v of tail, wet
hearts flattened orange
on the ground. Sun filtered

through the fragile skin
of windows in the funeral home’s
bathroom. I was taking my time
and feeling the pressure
of bones was the easiest
kind. How long I still had to go — 
photos and rosaries
to finger. Ligaments and anticipation
to break — I am a woman
after all, and always
hungry. The open coffin

seemed to glow like the refrigerator
at night — bare feet cool
and full. He had a body once
and now it is just behind
the handle, my hand on it,
my mouth full of wet.

I Am Not Married

I walk through a tunnel of blades. White
under my eyelids. On the rest of me

is ripened skin — my mother’s or the lady’s
next door. She hung herself

to dry and I saw her. Dripping. These
swords want to split something, and I dream

a plot of whispering teeth. When I glimpsed
the lady she had a husband — a man

everyone said. But he has departed
long ago. Now, I see the red and blue and coupling

of dusk. I wonder if that is what
the question feels like, a strange engraved

thrill. A caw comes out like blood. But all the red
remains inside. Once, I would like a crow

to be a beacon of hope. Once, a knife
cut a bit of rope — enough to be a ring.

Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Nora Hickey now lives in Albuquerque, NM, where she teaches at the University of New Mexico. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, Narrative, The Massachusetts Review, DIAGRAM, and other journals. She is member of the Dirt City writers collective.

About the Author

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