Corn grows out of my teeth.
I exhale popcorn,
though here in Arkansas
there’s not a movie theater for miles,
nothing to do. We tell stories
to stay alive.
At the convenience store
I buy fried chicken and crickets
at the same counter.
The man knows my name
and my mama’s name.
I am wild. I take what I want,
leave nothing in exchange.
My parents never notice
when I sneak out
with a tackle box and John boat.
I catch slimy bodies
in a three-pronged barb,
shove them through a slit I cut
in an old tractor tire inner tube
and stretch over a five-gallon bucket.
By moonlight, I set frog legs to fry.
What is enough? Three will fill me.
I have my breath
and a lifetime of stolen fish.
Death, The Best View of Arkansas Sky
An armadillo rots
in the bowl of its shell.
Last summer I sent a pigeon,
dead under the wheels of a car,
The moment was passing
from this world to the next.
Hold on to that.
Possum skull, dark ooze
Hold on. Fingertips.
I couldn’t bring myself to stop or
touch their bodies. I am unmistakably alive.
My branches unsteady their many hands.
From the house of death there is rain.
You wanna know where I am from?
Twenty miles north of here.
I’m a retired vet,
so this is what I do: sit out,
drink beer with my fellas.
I’m not a house cat.
We saw you earlier.
Today’s my fifty-third birthday.
My brother was supposed to join,
but the storm blew so bad in Baton Rouge
he got held up. You wanna know
what those clouds are carrying?
Everything in this town moves.
~ ~ ~
Devi K. Lockwood is a poet / touring cyclist / storyteller from Boston currently traveling the world by bicycle to collect 1,001 stories from people she meets about water and climate change. The three poems here were inspired by stories she heard while cycling solo down the Mississippi River in August 2013. You can read more of her writing at devi-lockwood.com.