Ffion Atkinson Flickr CC
Through thick morning fog, the chickens say snake!
Warning warble and cackle while body-warm eggs
crack in muscular crush. The laying box
writhes as the black spiral body swallows,
peristalsis moves food through the long throat,
fierce delicacy. Eviction is my chore
this morning, making room for future eggs,
future breakfasts, future baking, eggs ice-box
cold. Catch and release, miles away, a shallow
track through high roadside grass. The forest’s throat
opens with mist and shiver, dew-choked
slither. Sinister garden. Slick snake
as snare. I catch it stealing eggs from my box,
swallowing whole. Fear in my throat chokes.
Temptation of knowledge put Eve in a box,
and this tradition forced us to swallow
sin in a neatly wrapped package, delicate throats
exiled, bared to the boot. Constricted.
You will become like God, said the snake,
and just like that Eve was naked, her legs
bent at the knee by God, that sallow
fellow, punished with pain and patriarchy.
In the beginning, women were choked
with ovaries, beautiful fruits, ensnared
in fertility prison, born with all the eggs
we will ever have, snug in the same two baskets.
Box of flesh, this guilt you swallow coats your throat.
You choke down shame like a snake eats eggs.
I know a woman whose husband’s hands ring her exposed throat.
Later, she will refuse to say choked,
even though bruises wrap her neck like a snake.
Later, he will drag her by her hair as she begs
please. Later, he will throw her into a corner, box
her in, ball his fists, unhinge his jaw to swallow
whatever she has left. He will say, I only choked her
a little. And she will remain silent. And she will shake.
I know a woman who fears eggs
warm from the brief body hollow in a box
built for laying, warm from beneath the fallow
breast of a chicken, clucking contentment in its throat.
Fresh threat, static yoke. She shies away from snakes
bellying up. Her fault. Her hollow box.
Gabrielle Brant Freeman's poetry has been published in many journals, including Barrelhouse, One, Scoundrel Time, and storySouth. She was nominated for a Pushcart in 2017, and she won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Competition. Press 53 published her book, When She Was Bad, in 2016. Read more: http://gabriellebrantfreeman.squarespace.com/.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.