Photograph by Jemma Harwood / Flickr


Hidden in the lawn at my foot: a black walnut, halved,
a vomer bone nestled in skull, heart-shaped & snout-
like. Insides reveal holes—empty sockets with eyes
removed; kernels once held in curvature of space.
A glistening sliver catches my vision; I turn casing
between fingers, search an exterior for a slit of light
to see. Rain holds in your tiny body—how you always
hold rain from root to fruit—a miniature mirror to hold
the world in shards. Your bulbous green husk, long
removed, your wooded carriage, pried. Who parted
your shell, in wedge & tear? How hunger claws
first from a belly. What we expose in our wanting.
Who suckled from you once? Who suckles from you
now? A who who who repeats, conjures a scene in mind
as if we were not talking plants influencing other plants,
as if we were not talking animal, as animal. How crave
builds first below a ribcage, within an artery, just below
dermis. We know feathers & talons transport— we bird
beaks peck peck peck; we Sciuridae; we language outside
our mouths; we tree-squirrel-milk-teeth in wait
to be reborn incisors; we foragers the lot—turkeys,
racoons, bears in our guts, talking—we do talk—
how mammalian of us in our scuttle of forests, pastures,
caverns, buttes, waterways, airwaves, prying open &
dismantling in our gait. We know of defenses, of our
roots evolving: a sour kind of love. We allelopathic
plants; we emit a toxicity, making others susceptible: pines,
birch trees, azaleas, nightshades. Influence bound & we
want to make this all biological; how the false superiority
of our cells continues to wound; we influencers of
germination, reproduction, growth, survival of
another. We sunflowers, saying the word, sunflower
a smirk in our tallness, our big heads, our must-be-
unique beauty—in our inhabitations, in the space of taking,
in the space of taking space, we groan & chomp, leaving halves.

Felicia Zamora

Felicia Zamora is the author of six books of poetry, including I Always Carry My Bones, winner of the 2020 Iowa Poetry Prize and forthcoming in 2021; Body of Render, winner of the 2018 Benjamin Saltman Award from Red Hen Press (2020); and Of Form & Gather, winner of the 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize (2017). Her poems appear in Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, American Poetry Review, Boston Review online, Georgia Review, Missouri Review Poem-of-the-Week, Orion, The Nation, and others. She is an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Cincinnati and the associate poetry editor for Colorado Review.