Beard of Jove
I dip my chin into the beard of Jove
and it becomes my beard, devilish, common,
not even St. Patrick could get through it
not even St. George could hack through.
Oh my god, my Jupiter’s beard, my
thunderplant, earwort, imbroke, houseleek,
my cabbage, my thick hair
Derived from superstition, I.
Rooftop warden, I, I.
Are you kidding me, look at it. My precious beard.
I’ll never shave it but if I did
I would squeeze shut my eyes and think of my father:
Once he was my age exactly.
Once he was burned by a trick of light.
My Mother’s Daughter
My mother’s daughter reaches
over a gutted fish
or a room.
She doesn’t know
all the things I know.
At least she knows she is a daughter.
She slips her hand
inside the fish that lies between us,
earns herself a bone, leaves it
in the garden. My mother’s
daughter’s life, for the briefest
of decades, had its mouth around my life. In her dreams
the green alien comes
saying I know the only way out.
I have fabricated
the evidence. The death is not
an actual death. I strike
the owner. I strike
the guest. I strike myself down
in the heart
of the day. I’m just acting. The pretend
is real pretend. Once I was told
that I was psychic.
The person who told me that
was me. Sandpiper
I am First Beast
and I am Second Beast. I am the one
chasing all their beliefs to another rock
a little way down the shore.
there is at least empathy.
My cleanest goal
is to take my cues from the corners
of my eyes. I am trying
to take possession of myself
before I’m due. Curl of fish head,
curl of Sirius, curl of
all I need is your signal
for you to tell me when to leave.
Rachel Whalen is a poet, playwright, and translator from Buffalo, New York. They recently completed an MFA at NYU, where they were a Poetry Editor for the Washington Square Review.