Laurie Ann Guerrero

Feb 2011



In my hands, it’s cold and knowing as bone.

Shrouded in plastic, I unwind its gauze,

mummy-like, rub my wrist blue against the cactus

of its buds. Were it still cradled inside

the clammy cow mouth, I should want to enchant

it: let it taste the oil in my skin, lick

the lash of my eye. What I do instead

is lacerate the frozen muscle, tear

the brick thick cud conductor in half to fit

a ceramic red pot. Its cry reaches me

from some heap of butchered heads as I hack

away like an axe murderer. I choke

down the stink of its heated moo, make carnage

of my own mouth, swallow the blood, add garlic.


He’s cocooning now, asked who would visit

as he chose a spot from which to hang

his wispy bed.  From which to slip white silk

up from the creaking hinges of his feet. 


His eyes rolled away like clams

into the ocean a good six years ago.

He works now, as always, with his hands.

This is the best way he knows how.


In this state, the wrinkling faces of his children,

half a century old themselves, and the white cotton

sparks atop the heads of his parents in the photo

near the front door, he sees only in memory.


Pregnant with himself, he crochets a mother sack,

adjusts his silks. His position according to the thieving sun,

he pauses before enclosing the head, his arms

sleeved as a mad man and almost too heavy to lift. 


He lifts his chin to smell the calling moon.

He takes blind metamorphosis

as he does his coffee:  quietly

and in the dark hours.


and devour him: hair, feet,

his toothy and crooked mouth.

By doing this,

she will devour herself.

Her hair will soften.

Her shoulders will thin.

When she tries to speak,

she will open her mouth

and the taste of him and her

together will be on her tongue

like a blanket of strawberries

long after summer has passed.

Though she will be

invisible, she will be content

to have tasted love like this.

Though he will be invisible,

he will have given

his life for her.

Three Poems

Laurie Ann Guerrero is the author of Babies Under the Skin, winner of the 2008 Panhandler Publishing Chapbook Award. Her work has appeared in Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, Feminist Studies, Meridians, Indigenous Woman, Naugatuck River Review, Global City Review, among others.  Born and raised in San Antonio, Guerrero hold a BA in English from Smith College and an MFA from Drew University. She teaches writing at Palo Alto College in San Antonio.