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Tammy Robacker

Preparation of the Mummy: An Introduction

They tried to bury us.
But we were seeds." -- Proverb

You may save my innards, silent in their poisoned stasis.
Trade my uterus for amulets. Freeze me in mausoleum diorama
of liver stomach intestine lungs. Pose them with my quiet tongue

in canopic jars. Still I breathe the truth. The holy lobes
of my brain will be shook loose. All complex matter and proof
labeled refuse. The memories tapped out by an iron hook

and pulled down through my nose. I feel them slipping,
piece by piece. The mess blessed and secreted away.
Removal by the highest priest in a jackal mask.

My life was never magnificent as much as an elaboration
of steps, a test by more officious names to carry me out
of the world. But I chiseled myself here in hieroglyph.

Rinse me. Salt me. Wrap me. There is no Nile pure enough.
There is no spice fragrant enough. There is no bandage tight
enough to tamp out this legacy. Now it is written.

My bones crack beneath the death straps. My marrow steams
itself out to dust. To dust and air and light. Flip the scarabs
to see my dried eyes. You will find holes where they fly.

Study the sarcophagus etched with poems.
Regretless upon my coffin stone, I dared speak.
The dead spread of me stuffed with papyrus leaves.

Mad Scientist

There were many possibilities
at the butcher shop in Bayreuth.
They hung dozens of pigs
whole, strung up by their feet.
Pink skin. Thick legs. Blue-milk

gaze. My Opa browsed around
the freezing aisles, hooking a look
at a sow with the plumpest rump.
He fingered its ribs. How many ways
can you break down a fresh pig?

Monsters in the Closet

The ghouls were girls in bags
of stag mags stashed in the corner.

One mothership gashed open
a centerfold spread: Two-legged

creatures with grins and blonde
heads. Many-eyed splendors bounced

out. Shame split the earth apart
in the dark crotch of that closet

so when the devil came he did right swift
and pulled the thingy string swinging

from a bulb overhead. That naked
curse lit him up for you like a new idea.


I saw how pinup girls pose.
I was very young,

I confess. And on my sister
we focused a pretend lens.

Her repose in shirtlessness;
I recall the strawberry

nevus. A tiny birth-
mark on child chest.

Something so innocent
yet, I've grown it

to a smudge.
A puncture wound.

What did I arouse
in the marring?

It crosses my mind
often, that moment

a terrible exposure
lit past childhood aperture

to shape my adult mind's
eye. The shame,

a refraction.
Stain on me.

➥ Bio