An Ode to My Breasts Featuring Purgatorius unio
On my chest slopes a continent
old, smelling of sun-baked grass,
its prairie rooted in my sternum.
Here, in the darkness of my ribs, I carry
first mother, someone like possum, my stretch marks a border
where she shed scales for fur.
She laughs at our new carnivores and their sloppiness,
chitters, Child, look at the way they butcher
the fat from the meat. Make a glass talon
of sweet trill and word.
Still, careful, careful.
We both know the dinosaurs
never died, just changed.
I tuck my head into the fault line underneath my neck
where she buried herself,
thank her for showing me when to hiss
or bear my belly like the dead.
Bless her for teaching me
how to turn sweat into milk.
The Ark Will Not Save the Eurypterid
You push your finger into the sand,
say—here is where we will clean the ocean.
Drain all the saltwater from the world,
use its orphaned film to write
our God-given names.
We are like lobsters;
it is right to eat our woman.
It is time to live on the land.
And we will tell you—
you can’t preach the mud off our backs,
turn our truth ugly with beauty and orders.
Can’t sing down our walls of mucus
and you were right,
we are arthropods
but not lobsters to be buttered and boiled.
We are sea scorpions,
making footprints in boulders
making a salvation of carapace
making a god of ourselves
the first thing, benthic,
and it was good.
Ashely Adams is a swamp-adjacent writer whose work has appeared in Paper Darts, Fourth River, Permafrost, Apex Magazine, and other places. She is the nonfiction editor of the literary journal Lammergeier. Ask her about the weather.