What Happens in the Fields

Take a few moments to consider this large and varied organ:
that long-ago winter was a mystery, waiting to be called
into use by the body. Held in the memory, along creek bottoms,
ditch banks, fencerows, roads and neglected areas, caught
in the underside of the eyelid, where the external environment
extends into the animal. Entirely the wrong season. Begin
with the end in mind—some people like to use the dull side
of a scalpel blade. The most common catastrophes, minute
disturbances, middle-range machines. The big head swings around,
a sizable stone. Fascinated by what is seen: tiny hooks, ready
to latch onto any passerby, the experience of being handled
by others. Deposited in a glass vial for analysis: a long fleshy
taproot, a tall stalk and hairy, heart-shaped leaves. It’s not the same
as being taken out and walked in distinctive circular patterns,
close to the outer edge. One side is worn smooth where the soil
has cradled it for years. A link has never been proven: irreversible
changes in the tooth, a full water bucket, face flies, a hay bale,
something on the wind and causing more trouble.


The Unfortunate Incident of the Human Dissecting Itself

For example: multi-colored chicklings on a conveyor belt,

a latex glove.

                       “Just act naturally.”

Scalpel to scapula / fingerbone to keyhole.

And now the primitives walk backwards
through the door, headdresses made of light bulbs,
steel wool in their mouths.

                       “Just be yourself.”

A memory: x-ray of the entry/exit wound
on a television screen, the bucket outside,
black dirt around its rim.

Guttural wastewater. The Adam’s Apple, peeled.

                       I did everything I possibly could
                       not to kill myself.

In the left lung, you’ll find the pony’s tooth.
In the right, written instructions for botulism.

meat + air + time

From the observatory:

                       “Just look into the big glass eye.”

[operation incomplete]


Annalynn Hammond's first book, Dirty Birth, was the winner of Sundress Publications' Book Contest. A group of her poems also won the 2004 Marc Penka Poetry Award. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Slipstream, Gargoyle, Can we have our ball back?, Diagram, Failbetter, Spork, Aught, The Glut, Shampoo, Word For/Word, Sidereality and elsewhere. She lives in Wisconsin.