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Sample Poems by Amy Locklin

Voodoo Meat

A shaman lives outside
town whose mansion shines
like coin. He's on the veranda
pinky-sipping espresso
chatting with his women
while a NY broker
wanders naked in a nearby field
because arteries showered him
when cut, the twitching neck held
just so, and blood in the sun smells
of an iron you can't get
in pills. Mr. Shaman is cool
and purifies for a fee. He fans himself
in the shade because his white skin burns,
manicured fingers decked
in rings. His watch face glints
time Rex's truck should dust up
the property line,
because months earlier
when the answering service
said an archaeologist needed 100 jaws
for a study, he could be generous.
Fewer carcasses for the women
to bale. Sometimes
as many as four sacrifices
a day. Weekends only. Young goats
and sometimes sheep. The meat
is good, not stringy, not gristle
like you'd think. We will serve it to our friends
as a wedding feast. Have summer dinner
parties on it; anthropologists
will leave our nighttime, wind-down house
with one haunch each, "No scape goats."
And we will guffaw with them
over beers more than once this story
of counterfeit sacrifice - because
how else could Mr. Voodoo-Man's
Indiana estate get so rambling and so fine?
And when the calls come
I know what I will be directed
not to see: the ornament
of stripped flesh tied by hooves visible
through the open outbuilding door.
Intestines Rex lifts out, heavy
and precarious, those marbled
sacks of waste. His bloody saw
rattling out its sound through bone.

At the ICAZ Conference, British Columbia

Victoria, the island
of newly weds
and nearly deads,
the driver told us.
The week before
your ICAZ panel
we played nearly weds.
Fish people we imagined
we saw everywhere.
By night the unhuman
in us second dreaming,
by day imagination's counterfeits
ruined and pale in their revealing.
On rock's failed battlement
of whale-back granite
scarred by glacial ice,
our bones showed
under the wind
of cold September.
The starfish was an electric blue
even you couldn't name
in Latin. The milk-cap
sized crabs scuttled sideways
off the roseate
of your broad square palm
into tidal pools.
And my tourist-wish
for driftwood root
rising to touch night's sky
transformed into heron
the bird shaking off
its human name.

And Yesterday

And yesterday
finding in the dictionary
ichor, in pathology a watery
acrid discharge from wound or ulcer,
in mythology the rarified fluid
running in gods' veins.

After Heaton Farm

For A. S.

When that June afternoon
We drove south
To see our men
Dig archaeology
How they scaled with trowels
The site's thin skin
Each layer
Epidermal we
Almost missed
The turnoff
Beneath the canopy of trees
Stories coming back
How from swimming
In the White River
Amidst jaundiced
Banks and shoals
One field school
Student got hepatitis
Daylight's blight visible
In waves of air rising
Ahead on the road
Had I begun yet to obsess
Had I caught yet
Fear of pregnancy
And its aftermath
A chronic disease before
Your first baby I recall
A cerebral weight
Heavy as low clouds
Green with tornado
Back when we were smart
Feminist pomos
Signed our emails
Pomo insert personified
State like pomo
Hungryus pomo
Sorryus in the time
Of shacking up
And never ending
To unspeak