POEMS: Dara Cerv


If you are holy put your fist in

Your mouth when asked how

You really feel skirting through a forest

And through a house mostly I was

Transporting a torch

For an obscene animal it had this

Thing for lips

O your lips on my

O those lips like it had

This thing for skin

O your skin like a child’s

Your skin so soft like it had

This thing for legs

O your legs

Your thick legs

But there were only commonalities

At its center and qualifiers

The inability to specify when it was placed

In the land of female abundance

I hefted a torch across state lines and lines

In the mind that crisscross love 

And its potential liminality

I carried a torch for a specific position

In the projections shot from

The animal’s mind

When I put the torch down

It just went pfffffft

I held on for a while

Took it for an extension of my arm

Stumped in the wet grass

It’s all the same

There wasn’t a light left on

For me in the animal’s rooms to begin with

It didn’t leave on a light for me

Always a door cracked slightly open

Always only edges only the fleet of

Fur under a finger only the saliva

Under bare feet to be found

Some of us have to put our hands on

Things to understand them some of us

Have to move through them

Come out an other side





Last night I had a dream in

Which my feeling for someone was a very small dog

Smaller than a teacup dog

It died in my hands

How it injured itself was by running too

Fast down a stairwell and its leash

Let out all the way and it either hung itself

Or smashed its head against a wall

It was still

Pawing the air when I picked it up

Either way it stopped

So last night I had a dream in

Which my feeling for someone was a very small dog

Can we talk about that

I couldn’t find a vet while it was


And it just died in my cupped hands

I needed someone

To relieve me of its stiff body I could not

Seem to relieve my own hands of its stiff

Body I remember looking down at the dog

Corpse at one point and thinking

It seems taxidermied already won’t someone just

Take this off my hands a lot of people

Offered to help

But I guess it just wasn’t the right time

My fingers wouldn’t unclench

Hardened around the hard body

Of the dog who began to feel like ice

Somewhere in the awake night

In an undisclosed location it began

To snow over the blackened ocean







Dara Cerv lives and writes in Jamaica Plain, MA. Poems appear or are forthcoming in The Volta, apt, Jellyfish, and Whiskey Island. Sixth Finch will publish her first chapbook in the spring of 2015.

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