Tick of sweet clover, swinecress parasite, did you have a music
made you stick to the first warm alien who swung our old
scythe through your brome? Our Boy wanting to better scope
the renegade deer & private fox, your creekside tinderbox—
shored up cricket space, puncturevine hiding place—how did
velvetleaf become home worth leaving, Tick of time, of Lyme
design—had you neither thee, nor thine to keep you pining,

but had to claim mine?

& Tick of brine stuck in your jelly wound, insidious, now you’re
buried inside a dissolvable body—don’t you mind? Can blood
be ambrosial as what wine you drank by driftwood—each
night’s watery bell choir of coyotes had to ring better than
listening to Queen stuck on repeat in our son’s bedroom,
dog hair tumbleweeds, Comics heaped bedsheets—you might
have jetted eagle’s breast, instead, or drummed nectar

in honeysuckle’s ear

with your own tick-mate to call you dear.




Jane Springer’s latest book is Murder Ballad, her forthcoming (L.S.U. Press, 2018) will probably be titled The Church of Immersion in a Stranger’s Eyes. Her honors include Pushcarts, an NEA fellowship, a MacDowell fellowship, Best American Poetry prize, and a Whiting Writers’ Award. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, son, and two hound dogs, Leisure-Lee and Azy.



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