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Poetry: Erin Marsh


Tales of an Earwig

You enter my brain like an earwig,

through the moist, small crevice

of my ear. An old wives’ tale suggests

you lay eggs in my brain,

and for a while it seems you have.

At night I’m convinced tender

hatchlings inform dreams where kisses

tickle my sulcus and gyrus, igniting

visions of your mouth on mine. Vivid

sensations caused by your stout,

pincer-like cerci on my frontal lobe,

rattle memories of your body

on mine like bones.

It turns out that those impressions

are neural, that you’ve actually spent

the night scrambling

your way out of my head.


Dentinogenesis Imperfecta

• A genetic disturbance of the main material of the teeth (dentin), marked by rapid wear and a milky look to the teeth

I can tell a lot about a woman by her kiss

What exactly did you taste in the hauntingly

quiet red of our kiss?

     Maybe it was the hearty earthiness of teeth

     sans enamel, unprotected and soft, your vigorous

     tongue banging dents into their grayness.

     Maybe it was the taut slickness of long

     stretches of freshly grown gum, abscessed

     teeth pulled when withered roots failed

     to inform the brain of pus-filled pain.

     It probably was the familiar metallic

     tang of your own blood, violently drawn

     as the wave of your tongue crashed

     on the chipped teeth’s jagged rocks.

Could you tell that the breath fervidly issuing

from this mouth

would also infect the heart?

You reach for a water bottle,

rinsing the taste of my father’s carcass

from your mouth. I have set loose

his decay.


An Argument For Wife


A vintage color diagram

of female sexual organs

hangs on the wall, our bed

anchoring the womb.

(Hippocrates was correct—the uterus,

bulbous, pale red apple,

floats throughout the body,

compressing, latching on to other organs.

When I exhibit symptoms

of hysteria, my lover should

apply fermented urine to my nose and mouth—

driving the womb back to its place).

An unfilled prescription hides

in the center desk drawer,

reads “marriage and child-rearing.”


My husband pores over Hippocratic texts

instructing that frequent intercourse

keeps the womb moist,

prevents violent dislocation.

(He offers prayers of thanks for the man

who relieved me of dangerous virginity,

infused my cervix with soggy ardor,

kept me eager.) My mate

keeps me plump, sated.

I stay in one place, my humors

securely balanced until pregnancy

colors me—pink flushed complexion

means boy, sallow, girl.


All rights reserved to Erin Marsh.

Poetry: Kirk Pinho

Poetry: Sid Miller