two poems

Claire Oleson


but real teeth

a cluster of taxidermy rabbits—
eyes from plastic to glass to gem-wet iris
cutting the world up into parcels
of false-memory and mirror. and I could have gotten married
on the sapphire optics of some
cream-bodied prey latched
in the arms of a unitarian minister;
I did not, instead, went to lunch,
in the museum’s cafeteria. chewed,
expecting to meet bone or
some other gone-song
of long, bounding soles. only met
sugar and nothing—the ring finger’s crown
and its twenty-carat pupil.


shelter animals

your lunch in a plastic bag, the rocks
mouthed over with lake, whose dog
was this that’s followed you home, body
gone blue with the night’s wash, cold and half a block down,
mouth open like a prayer book you
haven’t memorized yet and don’t
love the god to.

my father had a crow he could
call onto his wrist like time—
one question of name and then palm-thick wings:
have apparition and half
lovely ghost with a habit of prying
all the neighbor’s clothes pins off the line, dresses
mottled through the grass like broken-off
phone calls.

my mother dug the pond in our back yard,
said she was making me a brother
as she tossed heaves of dirt past her shoulders
like the diner salt my uncle threw
over his back for good luck.

my father looked at my mother
short and darkly so
I believed she could get luckier
than the brother of a man who called
flying night onto his arm, pecking
the air apart for voices and
going through the same motions he used
for cutting down dresses as he did
to say his name in a stunted human tone—meaning
I have known myself
too deep into your house
to be taken out without it falling in.

Claire Oleson is a queer writer hailing from Michigan. She’s currently studying English and Creative Writing at Kenyon College. Her work has been published by the University of Kentucky’s graduate literary journal Limestone, Werkloos Magazine, and Bridge Eight Magazine among others.