Kathleen Winter

Blue veins rising in my hands

like so much plumbing. Feeling merely

mortal, I’ve seen dog hair matted

in margins of our bathroom tile

as though for the first time, as though

it were someone else’s brief.

I’ve taken a dog’s worth off the dryer’s net,

made myself a beard, if only in mind.

And caught in my canine beard, this barking:

joint language of dog and human tongues.

Tongue is lengua; lengua is a word for meat

my father had to talk me into trying.

Children, so sure what not to eat,

will stick their fingers into anything.

What do Z’s kids have that mine don’t,

except bodies, souls? My once-was

wasn’t ever fully here

— mist of a whisper, breath

you make appear on frigid glass.

The breath you make.


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