It’s actually more common
than you think, they said of Florida,
the underground, the passing
of shoulders between hands,
that lean muscle cleaved
from scapula, fresh in its red,
and when Stephens had found him there,
the head in tact,
we turned our eyes to such massacre.
Who calmed him before
the knife bore inward?
Or, was there a calming—
the turning down of velvet
This was a professional.
In the Atlantic, certain species
are known to store their feeding,
their taking of
poisons from the bodies
of hydra and projecting outward
their sting—the absorption of power surfacing
through skin, as if the self had always built
its weaponry from
the trampling of others.
Did the butchers feel within
Phedras that taut trigger, that scorching
of tensed thigh as it buckled
under the weight of legend,
the chestnut iris wavering, the men thinking
that as they scored
his sides they too might become
something of an
embodied force, shifting in their mortality.
in all of its detail, is never finite.
In the field, what creature’s ears listened
as they parted bone, sparing the neck, the torso
vacant. Whose eyes saw as the golden threads dispelled