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Shannon Hozinec

The Melting Town

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Besmeared with mud as we were—
as we walked, we created the ground. And oh,
we are such a wooden bunch,

wearing gristle-grain
proudly on our chests—
each step turned old beasts to ash.

Growth, a denting of forest beds
sours the leaves—
until they are red
and until they are our skin. Sticky and obedient.

—never what canine fortune
we have enjoyed, never 'father' spelled
in a way other than how we were taught.

The sky ate, and the sky ate, clutching
the open spaces in our jaws where
it flashed through and became the world.

This light breeds heretic fields, all stamped & scattered
with leftover scraps of betrayal. Always the appetite
standing at attention.

Past the hungry days—gathered,
a collective—

shudder as we remember how it felt
to eat our least favorite dogs.

Howls ebb the edge, forest fence, call and response
of woundlings, wild things, all the barbarity the forest brings.

O harbinger, we are unconcerned with tamer things;
war-torn, we are saddening into savagery.

The Binding

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Only this, the jawtight of this moment. When we are a looser
people, an undarkening will feel right, but for now, I knit
our hands together and pray for dusk. Start the hen-drain
and bleach bath, lower me into the bubbling like a filth
best left forgotten. I intended a de-meating, a recovering of
fresh skin and bone, but instead let's strike fear in the young hearts
of soft men. Let's pinken them where they stand. From the twigs
that I gather that darken the parts of my body that frighten us both,
a kindling. Left to rot and smolder, I am sun-dead and strewn.
Fake meat, just dust. Past meat. You can't give a wolf a bone
and pretend it is a meat. Wolves always know the difference.


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The hungry one bridges
past cities with your hair

& everything I put into my mouth
becomes a machine, wrestling

with twine & wire to unearth,
swell & divide, calculate the weight

it takes to make steel animal,
to bring it from sheet to shit.

Whenever the earth loses a bet,
I become night & weight sweats

meaning from its pores. The wolves
are calm, for once. Pieces of me

scattered among your better halves
become a womb for you to burn down.

Heel & haunch, you are swiftly reborn,
eager to experience the world as animal.

Metal to membrane, you grow soft,
finger my hair without pain,

put your words in my
mouth, hot & abiding.


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She loosed her gully fleece and from there,
sank into the swelling forest like a swallow.

Suckling & sweetly, descent—

a laying of hands,

upon & upon the singing parts of her body

that had always frightened men.

The bravest ones learn how to consume
before they take their first step.

The ones who are best at it take a bet. Or winner
claims all. They learn the red of their mouths quickly.

No other way but to just bear it,
& she bears it, the laying of hands on
the body, again & again, the body.

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