Animal, vegetable, mineral

She betrays her teeth to me, whispers what’s awry, knuckles toward lips without revealing enamel, & I absorb her hushes of mutter, amazed that such soft spheres could slip uncut through the barbs she describes. Growing up, she says, dentists were not in the cards; ironic, though – she lived in a place of cards: tarot in the front room, poker in the back, cards adorned with naked ladies falling between cushions & stuck to the back of the remote. Now, in these early days of old, she’s readying for all kinds of dread. All these envelopes huddle inside her: bills, bills, and the dried-out lips of collectors pressed between lotto tickets, licked knuckle skin, sore from knocking on doors, some sort of beeping alarm, thoughts pasted together with a watery glue that drips and drips and never dries –


Holly Burdorff is an MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Alabama, where she teaches composition, creative writing, and literature. She serves as Art & Design Editor for Black Warrior Review and as the Director of the VIDA Count, and her poems appear in recent or forthcoming issues of Cimarron Review, POOL, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Handsome.