'Dinner': A Poem by Catherine Zickgraf


She up-cinches her nostrils

like the bunched neck and shoulders

of a swamp hag or caped blood sucker.

Her back bone-blades levitate,

thin as a skipping stone,

slicing smoke fog

from moat mud.

The night world cowers under

her wings—a clavicle like a quiver

slants across each breast.

In her stomach spin noxious letters.

They grow into words

and scale her throat,

to her mouth,

and she holds them there on the

slug of her tongue,

readied like arrows

aimed down in rows.

She appoints the time

to pierce the skin

of the little girl dithering

among the night trees,

struggling home.

And there at the door,

her mother says,

you stray dog, you whore,

with skin sliding off her like a ghost.

Finger bone against

bone against knife—

at the head of the table,

she slices the roast.


Catherine Zickgraf’s main jobs are to hang out with her family and write poetry. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank, Victorian Violet Press and The Grief Diaries. Her recent chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press. Read and watch her at caththegreat.blogspot.com

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