picking the legs off insects - Spencer Allder

March 1st, 2024

There are chores to be done.
Where has she gone this time?
She is busy
Picking the legs off insects,
I reply.

She is scant—
Crunches slowly across sun burnt grass
Not minding gravel bits bleeding her bare feet flat.
She is busy
Noticing other, more important things;
Things nobody sees.
Her third eye is the gap in her teeth.
She’ll be fine;
She’s sublime.

“Don’t eat, don’t slouch, don’t dream.
You make me scream.
Be proper, be class, drop the sass.
You have no idea—
You’re ill prepared—
You’re lazy—
Look at you, crumbs on your lap—
You’ll never be enough to heal me.
That’s your job isn’t it?
Don’t you dare leave me—
                Oh, her?
She’s mine.
She’ll be fine.”

Shoulders peel, hips sway,
Buzzards encircle their virgin prey.
“What’s your name sweetheart?”
Walked to the dusty gas station for milk.
She bends to snatch a lucky dime.
She pays no mind,
Uses her allowance to buy a set of matches.
Too pretty for her own good.
She’ll learn—
She’s a gold mine.

Follows the moon nightly like a rock band,
Wearing jewelry of goldenrod and twine
And bones she’ll find.
She sings to Brother Sun.
She hums to hummingbirds.
Perpetual grass stains and chapped lips,
She pleads with the divine.

Tumbleweeds blow,
She’s never seen snow,
Spider web dew drop in the morning glow:
Stunning, stillness, held in place;
Trapped in time, garnished with lace;
Groom’s handkerchief dabs sweat from his face.
She hasn’t said I love you in three months
And July proves a relentless scab.
She is filled with something she has no name for
The property is a pressure cooker
She walks the line.

Sunset orange streaks barn doors and it
Almost seems like the whole thing
Could go down in flames.
What a celebration it would be—
Flat feet prancing,
Dancing gleeful, relief and pride
If the whole damned thing
came burning, churning down
With her mother inside.
Runaway bride—
Snuff out the bloodline—
She’d hit the coastline—
She’ll be fine.

An undergraduate
feminist art & art history