When I say it breathed inside the house
I mean I felt the air swell around me.
I was upstairs; it was behind me.
I was downstairs; it was roiling across
the room. From all angles, I was turned.
When I say it breathed
I mean also that it shrieked, the sound
so dislocating and new, it was heat
and certainty like steam shearing up
out of the earth, like lightning
My feet were strange to me.
My hands careless and flimsy.
It was behind me, at my neck
as if I could reach out and tremble
its vapors. I was circling,
my arms lifted when I saw
the tribe of foxes
press at the back door
searing their cries upward into the house.
We locked in awe, wild eyes
until the darkness stole us
back to our separate worlds.
|Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of three other poetry collections, including Little Spells, How to Live on Bread and Music, and Salt Memory. The recipient of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and a Pushcart Prize, she teaches at the University of Redlands in California. Twitter: @jksweeneypoet|
Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.