Back to Issue Thirteen.

my taxidermy is not the best, but it will do

BY KATE DEBOLT

 

Mohammed Awidi, on his zoo in Khan Younis, Gaza 

Even if the formaldehyde weren’t homemade.
Even if I hadn’t needed

to walk through fire for needles,
for mounts, for glass eyes - no one knows

how hard it is
to stuff an animal that might have died

hating you. First day the ceasefire
let us through:

the lions carved kitten-size.
The porcupine starved to an empty anemone.

The baboon’s cage filled with corpses
he refused to let us touch.

But the worst were the monkeys,
the ones we found wide-eyed, looking up,

clinging to the earth
like they might fall off.

Tonight we will walk the grounds
together & brush aside

the small ghost paws
that tap our ankles. Tell me:

an animal is a body all the way down –
it only knows what the body knows,

it cannot see God washing his hands.
It cannot see the villagers steal

from their homes, with water-pails,
with long, long ropes – & it cannot hope

to see them again, or for that matter wonder
why don’t they come back.

 

 

all lives matter

BY KATE DEBOLT

 

It’s not a thing we bring up,
like a white stone

stopper in a white milk jug.
Like the words might

escape if we aren’t
vigilant. & We are vigilant,

all goose-flesh & pink-
rimmed eyes, in fear

of our lives, all day, all
night, especially at night.

We brush a square patch
of mirror with sky.

Hypothesize.
Mention how the blue

of an eye is colorless. Just
an empty iris, like

the less there is of us
the more we must deserve.

& ‘more’ is the word,
isn’t it, what boys

in hooded sweatshirts
ask for? Chalking the sidewalk

is good honest work, but then
so is washing it away.     

 

 

DeBolt 13

Kate DeBolt recently graduated with her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and is currently an Assistant Editor for The Four Way Review. She has taught in high schools and special education programs as a New York City Teaching Fellow, is the recipient of a weeklong writing residency at Wildacres Retreat, and has published work in Bluestem Magazine, Plain Spoke, DIALOGIST, and lung. She lives in Manhattan and works in the Bronx, just a short, shame-filled walk from the best cannoli she's ever eaten.