December 22, 2020 by The Citron Review
by Kim Parko
I come to her home atop the mountain, cross a threshold stained with sienna footprints, enter through a mural of pinecones and winter berries. A large east-facing window shows distant ranges where charred trunks impale cloud heads. The small cabin houses cavernous rooms, multiple beds, a narrowing staircase, steep and without bannister—a sheer cliff falls from its edge. At the imperceivable top, her suite. I take a small cot for my bed; my half-asleep limbs brush the dusty floor. My breath is a dry nest. I hear her in the walls at night, chewing the wires. In the morning, I put on the kettle, listen to it mourn the sun. I walk to the meadow reclaimed in wildflowers. I put out my fanged trap, return the next morning to find her gnawed-off tail in its jaws. I hold the piece to my lips—taste, salivate, swallow. The morsel courses down like ice melt, curls up in my womb shade. She grows in her wet room, gently pecks her shell. I sit on the greying porch, watch long-dead birds horizon the sky. They bring enveloping night on their backs. A beak becomes a nose, a chin arcs up, a crescent moon rises. I grind roots in my throat. Peppercorns oil my lungs. My heart distills old water. I caw, she hatches. I hold her nakedness in my palm. Quill stubs push through her moist pores. My ribs feather out like a deciduous tree. I feed her an acorn cup of mouse gristle. Above, the stars are still there, but shifted. I release her to silently catch what is now awake.
Kim Parko is the author of The Grotesque Child (Co-winner 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Press Book Prize) and Cure All (Caketrain Press, 2010). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Boston Review, Black Warrior Review and elsewhere. Kim lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she creates in the nested and nesting spheres of mother, partner, maker, and hedge witch. She is a professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.