Mary Leauna Christensen has lived in Southwest deserts, in kudzo infested Appalachia, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with an overly dramatic cat. She has recently received her MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University, and is an assistant poetry editor of The Swamp Literary Magazine. Her work can be found in Cactus Heart, Permafrost, Driftwood Press, and the Avenue Journal.
I write about blood in two ways:
in the ancestral sense —
kin and culture coagulating
and in the fashion of animals —
a red stain from a chicken’s gnawed neck.
Until now I've avoided writing about
my own blood and the way it was inside
of me only seconds before it trickled down
my leg, seeped through fibers of too-tight jeans.
I yelled at him for packing a butcher knife
in a plastic bag, a butcher knife for a submarine
sandwich, the sandwich for a picnic hike.
I laughed at the un-strangeness of all this,
how the bag bumped against my leg
as I walked uneven ground to a concrete
table and bench,
laughed at how the knife slid forward
through bag, jeans, and knee, laughed
at the dog who was excited to be out
of the car.
The dog danced between my feet,
blending blood into her fur, her fur
confetti-ed to my injured leg.
She lapped of me, and maybe that makes
us family. He pinched together the gash
until the park ranger came, and maybe
that makes him my god —
setting things into motion, then making
me believe he’s helping in the aftermath.
An old wives' dream interpretation
states a barrel of fish foretells
pregnancy — that of the dreamer
or of a close relation.
I wonder how many times
my grandmother found a barrel
mysteriously left on her front porch,
and I wonder how many times
heat bloated the wood — a smell
rising from rotting chum.
Maybe the dreams all ended the same,
her leaving the fish, whole or not,
on the porch steps — not sure
what to do with them.
Maybe it was easier to spread the fish
and red water over a garden plot, fertilizing
bougainvillea and household herbs, when
the barrels couldn’t have been her own.
My mother said that with each miscarriage
her first symptom was a dragonfly hovering
a little too long.
In the Phoenix urban sprawl, the flicker of
iridescent wings attracted to dreamt water
isn't uncommon — the sun playing mirages
There have been no dreams of barrels
for awhile, but I've come home to find
my partner has bought a fish tank —
a blue light illuminating empty water.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.