two poems

by Rebecca Irene

Hunger the Laurel

She eats stuffed quail with no remorse for life—
frail bones sucked dry, the tongue’s holy rite.

little licked bones
line up so neat

He slurps raw oysters, as soft as his young wife—
turns the shells, presses them hard, into crushed ice.

she was fourteen
when he found her

So many secrets, hideous fierce, shelter beneath.
He swears to God he’ll stop each night.

leathery skin
ruining girls

Legs spread, lips pure, bestow the blessed wreath:
prized crown of triumph, victor’s proven might.

he is grateful
pays very well

He returns home, stumbles towards the door
past olive trees that shine a vigil light.

shadows bound shame
a game of locks

At dawn, he drags his flesh across the floor
and reads the farewell note, a perfect blight.

infectious words
leaf curl desire

Back bent, bones frail, with laurel heart knotted
Listless, alone, stone grey, regret rotted.

appetites reigned
defined the days


Not Allowed in This Poem



The curved swirl and stun of the path,
thicketed pines, ecstasies of moss.

Hound by my side,
quivering after remnants of scent.

Unearthed fragments,
not even shape left, not even skin.

Overhead—crimson, ochre, gold—
where once was only green.

Broken, wind-bitten stalks,
crosses at innumerable angles.

Wings circle shadows,
every gorgeous mess of us.

Seeds drift rivers of air,
milky cores long forgotten.

Multitudes of strumming insects flee,
as if dragged boot and paw

foretold doom, as if might could triumph
over any want.

Rebecca Irene’s poems are published in Carve Magazine, Juked, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere. She received residencies from Monson Arts, Norton Island, SAFTA, and Hewnoaks. Poetry Editor for The Maine Review, she holds an MFA in Writing from VCFA, and lives in Portland, Maine, where she supports her word-addiction by waitressing. Find her tweeting @cicadacomplex.

Artwork by: Nicolai Dürbaum