The rumors are true:
under a bear’s skull.

from my breasts,
lead me

swaddled in my arms.
teeth ripping out

me, these women
Because I can’t pray,

house. Gather
Oil the village.

midnight out.
live in auspices,

along the lattice-
the start of dying.

down. We drown
water. Take heart

We unwind intestines,
desire, fingers clotting

I can’t work. Or pray
the sunken womb,

How my children
my heart into a dead

mass poured into a well.
a door is opening:

her crook at my lip,
blood, asking if


Nicole Rollender

I buried myself
Yet, as milk pours

three widows
to the child

Haunted by cobweb
the rib that created

help me bone shop.
they say,  Jar your dark

hanks of trees.
We’ll broom

These necessary things
a starling skittering

of-far-light walls,
We bring the bird

her struggle under
beat for seed.

un-carousel bird
blood for a sign why

in search of aviary,
of umbilical blood rusting.

stuffed and stitched
bear’s belly, the furred

At the end of my life,
There, a shepherd bends

strikes and draws
I’ve emptied enough.

Shannon Estlund, Provocation (oil and enamel on panel)