I work to the bones his dogs bury.
We playfight. We paw at the bight.
I am late for supper.
Sunburnt and dirt. I split us up crabapples.
I murk our scrimmage line blurry.

I learn soil and light as I go.
Some call that bark alligator wood.
The sky looms pregnant with sun.
I will tell them I am famished.
I teach soil and light what I know.

Most have no eyes. Most have no wings.
Some termites writhe an orgy on the porch bulb.
My eyes get bloodshot with sawdust.
His kin sets inside the smoking lounge smoking.
Most have no eyes. Most have few things.

They laugh and I am terrified. I am.
His father’s side is all weed-eaters with firm handshakes.
I can machete and mulch pretty good.
His mother’s side is all terracotta crackpots.
They crack and I am terrified. I plan.

We run in shapes shaped like history.
His dogs snuff gas and onion on me.
Then the napkin and the chair.
I am teaching his dogs how to laugh.
We run in shapes shaped like eight infinities.

I can’t leave their table. Tradition doesn’t allow me.
Til I polish off these ribs. Til I eat all my plate.
Then the napkin and the chair.
I bite and swallow that bite.
I can’t stand their babel. Tradition doesn’t follow me.

I taste that scrap metal taste.
I champ all the fancy plastic china.
I can machete and mulch pretty good.
The pale evening pours itself in a toothpick.
I taste and hate this sap-settled place.

I wag my hose. I hose down the garden.
How kind it was of me to cut a yard out my stomach.
My eyes get bloodshot with sawdust.
I tell them I am famished still.
I wag my hose. I down the garden.

I am full. I am finished.
I go back out in this day. This humid hum.
The sky looms pregnant with sun.
I have stepped inside a mouth full of breath.
I am full. I am delicious.

I spew the dining room to make room.
My dogs laugh and eat. There is work to do.
I am late for supper.
Motherlodes of bones to bury. Skins to eat.
Open the tomb. Shove over. Make room.

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Henry Goldkamp was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Recent work appears in Indiana Review, Diagram, South Carolina Review, Lumina, Notre Dame Review, and The McNeese Review, among others. He is the grateful recipient of the Ryan Chighizola Prize for poetry from University of New Orleans. His public art projects have been covered by Time and NPR. Currently, he lives in Louisiana with his small, lovely family.