after Eileen Goodman exhibit
A shadow, across orange clementines tumbling out of their bowl
asks the right question. One clementine, left behind, swears: I have nothing to say.
But where is she, the artist?
The pine crate slightly left of the light, she might be
the shadow lifted on elbows or the mouth, magenta & opened.
Later, look at the black locust, how it turrets behind a milky shade
that limits light and dark,
& the tree is separate from & we are separate from.
Except I want to tell you how my husband refused to kill a red ant
because an ant’s antennae are bent like arms at the elbows, because it might have family,
he really did say, then ferried it out on his gigantic finger.
& how within limits of light & dark
I am still mother, sister, lover.
Do you think it ends?
Vagina, breasts, the body as porringer, a bleeding cup?
Know this: The words are not leaving or left or if.
The words are: I will look for him,
his scent of magenta, the red of his ant.
Fact: Clementines are seedless if grown in isolation.
My words are seeds
If when leaves no apart from the other.
My mouth, red & hunted.
I have said it:
When he dies. When.
Amy Small-McKinney won The Kithara Book Prize 2016 (Glass Lyre Press) for her second full-length collection of poems, Walking Toward Cranes. Her poems have appeared in Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, American Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, Construction, LIPS, Tiferet Journal, and elsewhere. Small-McKinney’s poems also appear in Veils, Halos, and Shackles: International Poetry on the Abuse and Oppression of Women (eds Charles Fishman & Smita Sahay), and BARED: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts (ed. Laura Madeline Wiseman). Her work was translated into Korean in Bridging The Waters II(Cross-Cultural Communications.) and into Romanian. January 2018, she traveled to Ireland with the Drew University MFA in Poetry program where she participated on the panel, Kindred Spirits, at the Transatlantic Connections Conference.