How to Cure

by REBECCA GAYLE HOWELL

Because the fly does not rest because it is a machine its body formed from bronze its head, bullion its wings from glass because this small alloy cast in flight needs muscle still humid with life you have no time to lose After the slaughter after the neighbors have gone and the blood has soaked the ground after the knife drop your cracked hands into the ice bath Knead her shoulders, thighs, knead each length slow like it is your own, sore from this day’s already long work Rub her with salt, black pepper, molasses, borax, fear, keep that glowing scavenger away from what it needs from what you need because you are a machine and this is what you are here for And when the peach trees blossom when your weather has turned lay hickory and apple lay sassafras, fuel fresh split, tender and green In this open house logs transcendent with air no mud or mortar or screen start the smoke rolling uncontrollable, great next coming, great smothering Each blazing day counted by every pound of flesh you own

REBECCA GAYLE HOWELL’s poems and translations appear in such publications as Ninth Letter, 32 Poems, Ecotone, Indiana Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Poetry Daily. Her translation of Amal al-Jubouri’s Hagar Before the Occupation / Hagar After the Occupation was selected to inaugurate the Alice James Books Translation Series in 2011.