This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss, released by Ethel Zine in 2020.
Shape-shifting Jesus is green as a water snake,
muscling along in the stream, parting mud
with his narrow shoulders.
Shape shifting Jesus
rises from the puddles in a mist, shakes the dew
from his mane, lumbers golden and smelling of
blood past where the chickens squawk in fright.
If he eats them it will be gentle, and they will
Later, feathers sprout from his back
and heavy wings beat the air. He is not an eagle,
he is a vulture.
He has found my body where I
forgot to reclaim it, he is nesting in my vitals,
with my heart in his talons, pecking my eyes
out with his black beak.
Later still he will be
in your church, folded into a pale round of starch,
placed in your mouth.
Holding all my memory
and desire, he dissolves on your tongue.
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