“Tara’s words immediately grab your attention; and, even when you’ve finished reading the poem, you still feel as if you’re under her control. I love her work for its declarations and its questions, always pointing us to both what’s known and what’s naive.” ~Erica Dawson
Each one starts small and saccharine,
puffed bundles of confectioner’s sugar,
cottony chicks peeping softly.
Then the down molts and they grow.
Feathers fall to the ground, thicken
settling excrement. Sharpened shanks
and spurs supported by growing claws
create unintended guests. The plush
gone, stiffened quills. Each lie is released—
clucking and alive. They fly anywhere
they please. No one knows where they
might decide to descend and take roost.
When she turns toward the wall,
she notices its growth and pulse.
Its gray, white shag swells, thickens
with an industrious crew of spiders.
Her breath is a startled lift
since gasp is not quite right.
At first, she mistakes herself prey
in her own dream. She’s wrong.
These sisters cannot speak, but build
unseen barricades in her waking world.
She realizes the regiments of spiders
never confine but keep others away.
She watches their casting angles
unspool, balances herself, breathes.
I only dodge a few nightmares.
Most nights, I imitate a stone
with steady breath for six hours.
There are days when my body
dictates a double shift of shut eyes.
I wake, a weekend has passed.
When tears slick my cheeks
I collide with awake too quickly,
soaked pillow and clumped lashes.
At first, I only saw pointed fingers,
His open mouth almost braying.
Gasps shake me into waking.
The last dream was his silence
cradling my rock to questions
thundering in my ears, a pair
of baskets I cannot cover.