Girl of Nightmares – Kori Hansell

Listen, girl
of nightmares, to the coyotes’
midnight gloom stretching belly up,
rapid paw, mouth & mouths wet

& waiting, waiting for the milk-
y sliver of nightbone. Listen
to the creaking pulse from the hefty
hens above you retching

the venom of rancid seedlings
&weekend tissue, scratching
the blood-painted wall with a tethered
claw, a quill of nightbone sent

on the chill of the dark wind’s shoulder, or,
enshrined in the frozen wooden alcoves of
this simple dwelling, an infant canine
tooth, marking the tallies
of the biddies in their hours of ecstasy,
their grand old cockerel pumped
space& springing into life. Listen to your rusted gears,
to the grumbling innards you clench

with a sweaty fist, having been warned, partook
of the milky nightbone, cheek ruddy & brimming with hot salty broth,
that smoke-boiled ivory, & swam in its silken waves belly up,
rapid paw, each of your blushing curves surfacing

into the afterglow, pink dormant islands
on which ancient settlers once quarried
the steaming surface to discover the secrets of the terrain
& found a dying colony, afflicted

with ulcerations, its pearly soldiers attacking each other,
spacedegenerates, mad & raving, disemboweling
their brothers, burning
the armor to forge steel towers, shrapnel

gardens, monuments to a spent battleground,
slash & burn, foul & forgotten. Listen to the whispers
of the wailing mothers beseeching the pale nightbone
spacefor her gossamer shroud: conceal the angry

reds, put out the eyes with coins parlayed
from the sun’s foolish gambles,
cover the ears, stamp the seventh
seal upon their foreheads & be mindful:

you shall never again sleep, strung out
sister, libertine, lotus eater modest
& mean; the brilliance
of the cool night hums on.

Kori Hensell is a graduate of the University of Alabama and lives with her tiny baby cat Batty in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. You can find her at the Wal Mart pocketing lipsticks, or maybe she is at home gnawing on bbq ribs, peering at her neighbors through the tiniest little slat in her blinds. You can find her poems and essays in Big Lucks, Literary Orphans, Utter Magazine, and elsewhere. For a good e-time, e-dial

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