Prayer for Appetite

Luiza Flynn-Goodlett

What whispers suckle, tugs
spines upright, name god.

Acolytes—mice sniffing
a wet breeze, blouse milksoaked

at an infant's cry,
universe ever expanding.

Oh cosmic through line,
teach the weaker sex your

bruising grip. May we find
statements heavy as stones

in throats, stay hands that
push away plates, backs

arched only to provoke
a conclusion. Instead, let

what's clenched uncoil,
pulse under the tongue.

At dawn, we'll rise to tuck
ribs into the smoker's belly.

More by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett

The Sublime Before (Is Someone's After)

Red-throated hummingbirds spar above

the magnolia. Upwind, something grilled.

The dogs are still alive, yap at whitetail in

the cornfield. The rooster hasn't chased us

down the driveway, so no one got fed up,

loaded the shotgun. Father's heart doesn't

yet float on a pillow of fat. The miscarriage

is years off. Summers, we bleach hair with

lemon, are warm as gold on skin, haven't

glimpsed the shapes we'll be hammered in.

Will

FOR MY MOTHER

She demands a burlap sack and hand-dug
backyard hole, despite questionable legality

within city limits or merits of me muscling
her in, rigor mortis and all. I ought to just

acquiesce, pump iron in preparation. But
it's the literal carrying of her death, which

I must do anyway from then on. So I offer
Arizona desert where they'd place her on

a platform to bake, sustain vultures. Even
the body farm, where she'd be tossed down

a well, bullet-riddled. But she insists, so
I picture handing shovels to siblings. And,

once the size seemed sufficient, I'd head
inside, lift her as Atlas, she, the world.