“Gurney Season” by Anna Newman

Anna Newman


until all the red is absolutely out
my mother won’t eat meat
so I cook it till it flecks
char meanwhile the dog chews
his plastic bone
splinters drive into his gums
I get them out with eyebrow tweezers
on the front porch a pumpkin’s limp
and liquid the squirrels eat the insides
and induce a glazed-eye stupor three
stitches on my dog’s large intestine
fix the rodent-bone perforation
the shrimp smells wet she bins it
the pheasant’s leaking something
I say it’s the body’s natural fat she
bins it a season of unread newspapers
sedimentary like a natural formation
on the dinner table each gurney season
I wish I had a firmer grasp on tarot
readings I keep only pulling swords
I’m trying to scry the something red
and possibly contagious in the center
of me that keeps pulling in things
seemingly to break them my dog’s grave
marked by a trellis so we don’t dig him
up after gurney season is done and we’re
planting nasturtiums when she’s
in the hospital I’m like that girl
in any B horror movie who reaches out
and touches the dark of an empty house
like she’s expecting something
if I can explain both of us away
into something not quite done I can do a trick
where I pretend the dark is solid
where I pretend it could be someone
reaching out and touching back

from Rattle #66, Winter 2019


Anna Newman: “In the best horror movies, you don’t know what will happen when a character chases down a strange sound (Was it the wind? A ghost? A cat knocking something over?) or enters a dark and empty room. The poetry I love has this same quality—I feel like I’m reaching forward, waiting to encounter what’s inside the poem’s room, never sure what I will find.”

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