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From the Current Issue of The Antioch Review

FOR THE BIRDS

by Cathryn Essinger

At the farmer’s market the grocer has decided
to give me a Bible lesson as I fumble for my wallet
to purchase a squash.

This one is called the Crown of Thorns, he says,
to remind us of the cross, and here are ten spokes,
one for each of the commandments.

I give the grocer his money, but my sympathy is
with the squash, whose nature has been hijacked
by religion.  It fills my palm

with its hefty promise and I suspect it of knowing
the true art of resurrection—seeds packed
into a sinewy cave,

where the pulp is so fragrant that time holds still.
When I split the ovum with a knife I reveal
a space so private

that I am embarrassed to have looked, flesh as pale
as the new moon, and an aroma so seminal that
it stains all thought.

With the sharp edge of a spoon, I scrape out the seeds,
and then holding the soft entrails in one hand
throw it all to the birds.

***

Cathy EssingerCathryn Essinger is the author of three volumes of poetry—A Desk in the Elephant HouseMy Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence.  She is a member of The Greenville Poets and a retired professor of English.  She is currently teaching poetry workshops and learning Japanese.  Konichiwa!  Her work has appeared most recently in The Southern Review, and The Alaska Quarterly.

 

 

©2014 The Antioch Review

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