Laura Bylenok

Homologue: Husband

Season of lysis and low sun.
Season of lies. I smoked
a pack of wolves. First frost
chronic father—lover
of leaving let me tell you
for later. Let me tell you.
Let me peel the months
off my tongue in a long
single hair from my throat
I have swallowed
to become my throat
from a strand of DNA
that will denature me.
First lie, first lay, first getaway—
marry me—I was thrilled
through with sickness,
hemorrhaging red sun
on my sheets and me inside
them growing awkward
into my own cell, totipotent,
peopled with your grief.
Who? I ask. Who
could do such a thing:
people me with the honey bee.
All the things I can touch.
People me with fur,
with frostbitten jaw, just
there, with there, there.
Tell me a story
because I cannot stand
my ganglion of silence.
I was peopled with wolves,
lover, leaving me
mandible, bandaged
blastula, hollow ball
full of all the field
running through me,
muzzled with earth
where I tore belly first
into the wound and made
its dead center, incisor
tucked in a nest of fur
matted and licked,
its bracelet of nerves
nucleic, the hollow soft
and asymptomatic as a scar.

Laura Bylenok is the author of Warp, winner of the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize, and a/0 (DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, North American Review, Guernica, and West Branch, among other journals. She is assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.




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