Home > Poetry > Every Part of the Animal
Published: Wed Apr 15 2020
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
AGNI 91 Animals Sexuality Violence
Every Part of the Animal

_                Cervical being
        of the neck (cervix) and not
of the deer (cervus), though
_       _ one might bend hers grace-
ful as a willow branch
_       _ when she drinks from the river.
I would only wrap my hands
_       _ around the neck of that deer
if she asked it of me, and even
_       _ then I would use only the
most necessary strength,
_       _ watching for the flutter of her
lashes, her eyes wide and
_       _ flickering toward
the soft white spots
_       _ dappling the sky. Is that
nostalgia parting her mouth—

_       _ it is nostalgia, yes,
I’m sure of it, but
_       _ for what? Air? The river?
It doesn’t matter. I would watch her
_       _ face for fear like a predator
watching as her cubs starve,
_       _ my hands gentle as she’d
allow me to be. One
_       _ pressing down around
the throat, one aligning
_       _ itself with
the spine. We both came
_       _ to the water to be found
by the water. Here, joy
_       _ is the only hunter
and pleasure the butcher-
_       _ ed meat, though it runs
through the trees before it’s caught
_       _ by our snared bodies,
all of us hungry, and
_       _ limping from older wounds.

See what's inside AGNI 91
Untitled 1975–86
AGNI 98 Sexuality Family Violence
by Ulrike Draesner
Translated from the German by Iain Galbraith
Online 2020 Animals Nature Violence
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Online 2016 Animals Relationships Sexuality

Jaz Sufi is a mixed-race Iranian-American poet and arts educator. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, AGNI, Birdfeast, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A Kundiman Fellow and National Poetry Slam finalist, she is an MFA candidate and Goldwater Fellow at New York University. (updated 4/2020)

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