- Blessing of the Beasts
Let it rise from the windowless houses in which chickens sit their entire brief lives in darkness, wing to wing, breasts bred so heavy they struggle to walk, stop trying. Let it lift them into confused light with the matted grasses and blackened leaves below the field of ice where I blow on cold coals in a pit of ash and bone. Let it come from the calcium veins branching under graveyards, be root-sucked into breathing green, feed, flower this brain to see through the city’s magic mirrors the earth snake’s eyes peering in and out. Not the immaculate Mind purified of death, but the blessing of skin, scale, fur and feather, breath and pulse, the old blood, the code kept and spoken from the first cell saying trilobite, chameleon, gray wolf, the chimera we name the self, chatter, warble, growl, shriek, moan. For the sparks and flashes, skull skies, temples of piss and shit, ancestral spirits, gods crawling, clawing, tunneling, flying, tasting clouds, oceans, soils, sun in seeds, muscles, pulps, leaves, saps, oils, juices, the tongue circling the tender center, mouth enfolding, stroking the veined stalk, for the burst, thrust, outrush of fire and space becoming, and the counter-pull, the gathering attraction, slow accretion of matter remembering in this trembling, this singing, this dying, this dreaming meat. [End Page 23]
Jay Udall’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Verse Daily, Cincinnati Review, and Spillway. His latest volume of poems, The Welcome Table (2009), won the New Mexico Book Award. He teaches at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, where he also serves as chief editor of Gris-Gris, a new online journal (www.nicholls.edu/gris-gris).