Amy Pence



If the cat had                                         Enraptured
not struck down                                         
the bird, would I                                       by the cyclamen’s
have seen the fine                                     winged inversions—
    quiver in its
      smallest down:                                     Or am I not struck
            gray                                               because
            there,                                             I too am
            infinitesimal                      found



Indelicate:                                hanged, then sometimes burned            
its scent that breeds                 children, afterwards
like flesh, climbs and roots                            at the far regions
cloying even                                        in photographs, smiling
pinked tuberous                      one smudged boy in cap
infiltrating—                           it was a spectacle      
historical, southern                  this fear that had its glee 
even                                        in the hangings, mutilations  

unclassed vatic                                    sexual: one per week, more                           
covering the share-cropper’s                                for a century
shack: dense scroll                                       turned in on itself       
upon which God leaves                              shame: twisting among
evidence of  aching                          the leaves
Do you see the wings dissolve                                   that scent
                                                                        among us                               


Amy Pence's work has appeared in New American Writing, American Letters & Commentary as well as other literary journals. Her online chapbook Skin's Dark Night may be found at