take the moon into your mouth. scoop it out of the sky
like honey from a glass jar. roll it around, a cold marble
behind your lips. stars stick to your tongue like glitter.
our blue planet rests in your palm, a hard pill to swallow.
you make a new world by eating the old one.
you want a new world so badly? make it. every hallowed
malaise, every follicle. what about horse joints? the bug
sounds? every waking bird beak? will the syrup stick?
the kettle scream? how many branches will the willow weep?
name the color of the sky. and how many skies
are there? who will top the mountains? how will you drink
the ocean? what will the songs smell like? will foxglove
still drip like that? and what about mornings?
will they still feel like this? will your grandmother
still laugh like that? will she teach you to dig up
daffodils right after they’ve died, split the bulbs,
and plant them again, root side down, in the fall?
will you be generous in waiting for winter to pass?
will you step delicate, like your grandmother, knowing
what’s beneath your feet? will you imagine
another yellow year, another patch of snow drops?
and when you’ve pictured it all, painted it in your mind
like a chapel, i want you to collect it in the hollow
of your throat, then retch it, like a mother bird does
for her babies.
a factory of snails/their underbellies all tickled
and stroked/you/and all the other women line up/walk
like scared fish/skin dull as spoons/you have one fear
in common: your mothers’ wrinkles/that’s right/you crave
an aura of girlhood/cheeks as full as a juicebox/eyes
like tight jars/you do what you can to keep a fed face/
the cosmetic chemist assures you/no snails were killed
in the process/you read a pamphlet on the ethics
of snail mucin/you wonder/briefly/how they unearth
the goo from those fat/writhing/bodies/and funnel it
into little clinky bottles/all so nondescript/the first
imbuement/snail stuck to your face/like a leech/your skin/
for the first time/a real organ/now/you wear your freckles
like jewelry/milk snails by the hour/fill up the bathtub
and sprawl in the stuff/you want it everywhere/silky youth
serum/under your skin now too/that’s right/you drink
it/feel it gurgle to your brain/now/years come loose
like teeth/tomorrow/a woman forgets her name
Mara Beneway is a poet, illustrator, and educator from New York. Her work has appeared in the Bread Loaf Journal and Gandy Dancer. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of South Florida.