D. C. Wiltshire
is an enzyme quilt (or maybe
like a hand-crocheted potholder,
her first project) produced in the gut
of the mammals that chew. It curdles the casein
to make milk easier to digest. You use it for cheese,
to split the milky thickness
into pocked spongey curds and brothy whey.
The divorce happens instantly.
Rennet: a liquid pale brown, like sickly urine
the Romans used to wash their clothes.
In the rainforest of Peru, the women chew the yuca
the you-ca, the cassava, manihot esculenta,
standing round a giant vat
and spit it out to ferment: the saliva
of your mother and the belly bile
of your enemy mixing, to nourish you.
Chunky time in giant jars
yields fizzy alcohol, potent as lite beer.
I am constantly learning into the gape
between the clean and unclean of my body
and the creatures that inhabit it with me,
in odd moments including you.
As do we
Wildflowers in Death Valley
wait in cozy, wheezing seeds
some ten years for a cup of rain to sluice into life.
They wait on salty knowing earth. thick skin shriveled
and carapace, lying deep
in split-lipped furrows.
And then it rains. Not the scant, errant
man of dry pulp. but the effluous, ardent course
of the mother ancestral, her water’s breaking.
And they pool and wade and spin and finally
stretch their limbs in weedy milk thistle shoots,
palm-height gangly arms. It will not rain again;
they will live their lives expiring
breaths wet with the germ of life.
And let the sandy wind carry far away
the treasure of their pangs.
It will not rain again for a thousand days,
and spent from birth, they will await the slow and toxic heat
that bears them into paper death
a mile from their children. As did
About the Author: D.C. Wiltshire is a sometime queer poet, preacher, and chaplain living in rural-ish North Carolina. He has poems published or forthcoming in OxMag, Common Ground Review, and The Cincinnati Review.