Table of Contents



Meghan Maguire Dahn



Not too beautiful     to eat, but too
beautiful to eat     without consideration
of their bodies,     tumultuous as landscape,
the dead model     living on the left
the second dead     model dying
on the right,     Winslow Homer held
their heads      in his hands. Even
a golden-eye     duck is heavy dead.
Even a hope is     heavy with feathers—




of toad is toad, but brazen, weighted
and down on his luck. The trick
was this: take something lowly
and cast it in brass or silver or some
alloy, make it anti-momentary,
momentous in the hands of the collector.
What light was on his skin shifted
imperfect and replicated against
the fact. If the lifecast lacked
the desired detail the sculptor entered
back into the enterprise, making
the toad more toad than toad.
Some had their jaws propped open
to form an inkwell. The only use
of this particular toad was to signify
how close we can hold our fear
that we are animal and undone.




             if the floor shook
and you feared                       each
                              new nourishment

                     for you, shaking you,
      your teeth, pulsing the tympanum.
It's dutiful            nothing more—no

longing as mercury refusing
     the central shaft. No.
the watchface, unrelenting

In the mountains, they                   whisper
                                        little one, larva limp—
to your face. Your hollow hairs' great bending—

to your mouth, your nose, your many
           thighs; to your heart your heart your heart;
to your honey gut,        lastly

Their breath careens
                             into diagnostic fervor:
hypertension, diabetes,         cancer, grief.

There is no leg of meandering lymph
                                  From the compound eye's
crystalline lens to empodium to lancet

                                  the bad matter
                                      when you go

from their dead
                      a new choreography. Off
                           with all your information

                                              of their baby
                                  let it rest.
Make honey for their salves.




There's a fantastic little used book store and literary space in Brooklyn called [Black Spring Books]. It's next door to Henry Miller's childhood apartment. I found this wonderful, weird book there called dogs horses cats and other animals in the national gallery of art by h. l. cooke. It was published in 1970 and is one of those relics of another time, filled with grainy, horrible black and white reproductions of parts of paintings. "Brace of Game" and "Afterward, What's Left" are both ekphrastic poems in response to the images in that book. I was interested in a couple things—(1) what would a fragmented or partial ekphrastic be and (2) how might we interpret those moments of encounter between humans and other animals (what's left that's wild in us and do we hunger for it, etc.?). "Hive Grief" is a poem that I've been working on for a very long time. I started it in the days after the Sandy Hook shooting. I was trying to see if there was anything in the way(s) that animals grieve that we could learn from.