The Animal Who Eats Winter

An animal has gotten under my skin.

An animal's violent flight beats in my throat and leaves its bloody tracks across my floor.

This animal blazes in my lungs, swims up my bloodstream and burrows into my brain.

An animal has lengthened my jaw, leaving its rapacious appetite under my tongue.

A shadow of an animal paces beside me, hot breath staining the bathroom mirror. I paw the growling in my eyes and take a razor to peel back my burning skin.

With each cut a little more brindle fur pushes through the blood and yellow fat. I find ivory claws, a red tooth.

A boreal animal has stretched out in my soul causing me to prick my animal thoughts. Coyote's mirth, a wolf's pant. blazing hunger of tiger and cold salamander creeping toward yellow flame.

I slap my hands hard across the sharp ears of animals. Lions roaring in the mountains, a leopard's cough, the muzzles of bears nuzzling against the frosted glass. The cold and pitiless eye looks back at me from the steel kettle.

At night I call to animals of fire scattered golden across the floor. The disembodied eyes of cats, green flames, follow my pupation in black flannel and red wool.

Snouts move in brackish water, liquid bronze eyes glitter from the slime, a badger rakes muddy claws across my face and a snow leopard yowls, his eyes icicles of alcohol in the half-light.

Some animal moves under my skin, snarling in my laughter and tangling my thoughts in a jungle of scales. An animal's cry echoes over the telephone wires, begging my friends to stroke and run.

An animal rubs against my ribcage. Its gentle savagery weasels into my icy human heart. Its trickster's laughter runs all over my trail, killing the windigo, and letting my spirit run free.

An animal has ripped into my dreaming. Every morning I wake with a wolverine in me and every day I walk like a wolverine walks.

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