sporklet 13

Erin Adair-Hodges

Antiquity Abecedarian

Augustine was a buzzkill, sure, but

before that he sounds like a guy I

could hang out with, commiserating over

doomed affairs with a draught of Berber wine,

erupting into conjugated tears over the loss of our loves.

For years I feared I’d

gotten a bum one, a fritzing heart over

heating with the slightest spark, lamb mewling for its own

immolation, as if it was

just me cruising the alleys of distracted romance,

knuckles bloodied from knocking on doors,

loosing the snakes from where they hung on my bones.

Mostly now I see how want playacts as

need, how desire zombies, Coleridge

opiumed and dreamy but still shitting his

pants. You’d think then I’d just

quit—get me to a nunnery!

Retire my red-laced underwear

singing from my skirts to Argonauts!

Tanned and muscley Argonauts!

Understand now it’s not Jason I want but his

viciousness, the strut and sail, taking

women and loving into them children winged, doomed,

x’s on islands I can’t go back to. I sail to the map’s lip,

yaw over its edge. I be-flag and name this dark

zone Disaster. I name Disaster home.


Song in the Key of Negged

I check the mailbox every few minutes, but of course I mean I check

my phone, grub for alerts, wait to be pinged into meaning. I am a good dog,

good girl—rub my neck, palpate my belly. I’ll chew the heart from a chicken


and offer you its meat—do you see it’s not the meal I’d kill for but you

don’t see, Oedipus sans incest, all pomp and robes and ruin. I’d heard rumors

of where you’d come from, what you’d do, and I thought what fools


to not break through to the nougat of potential inside, the real you

hidden under anger like a man bringing up the rear of a costume horse—

I saw codes in each tail twitch, every faux hoof stomp an answer to the only question


I’ve ever asked. I am putting my ear to a glass, the glass to the wall. I make the murmurs

mean. Even in the silence I measure out a message, the longitude and latitude

of where my body meets your need, a country where I am the name of the river,


you the mouth of the sea. You grab my neck and hold tight like a kiss

you can’t stop meaning, take me to the lake, watch me sink for want of salt.

There was something else I meant to say, before you filled my throat.

Erin Adair-Hodges is the author of Let’s All Die Happy, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. Recipient of The Sewanee Review’s Allen Tate Prize and the Loraine Williams Prize from The Georgia Review, her work has been / will be featured in such places as PBS NewsHour, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus and more. Born and raised in New Mexico, she is now an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Central Missouri and the co-editor of Pleiades.