Maya Stahler


               by the white bay
the girlie moves like a dead actress
on the stump of an apple tree
she had fell herself with a golden ax
her mouth wet with apple blood
I think she was laughing
her cowboy boots shiny
like a pair of brown teeth accusing the earth of a secret
her hair the color of old yellow bruises
dipsy eyes bleating silently
just some forgettable jewels on the web
but she is a pretty bag of bones
in the corner of the old beach land
I watch her from behind the warm cow legs
And she opens her body in ribbons with cheap
iron nails that she holds on her tongue and spits out, littering sharp seeds
for the crows to swallow and bring back to her
purpled with bird blood

After some salad years
               she mutilates
slow caged carp lipping the dark chunks of matter
slamming her body against the barrier of the wind
I watch her open that secret flap of skin
just above the navel and it is dark with ink
reach in and it is wet
She pulls out the soggy paper, Sunday’s or today’ s
so I get up and leave cuz my jig is up
and she finds out
that she is alone, rotting down like a lady
               a farm girl
               a brain
a dead actress or not I think I will make her be a dancer next
sewing herself into some pointe shoes
and the needles will slip softly into the skin

Maya Stahler is a poet from Oregon who is currently pursuing an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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