Azucena: those who know take one
bite and recognize the meat in this stew.
Cassia bark and peppercorns cannot hide
dank undertones of whelped hide.

Every man at the corner store
for himself. And local police?
Give them an extra serving of rice,
hanks rich with a side of gravy.

Into the marrow the tongue moves:
just closing in, breath-heavy,
kin to the hound and all creatures
loping in packs or alone.

Meat-hungry maw that ogles the moon:
noonday of no shadows. Dendrite
opening and closing in spasms, far-flung
provinces where the law doesn’t hold.

Quiet stretches of countryside,
rumors wild as the pelt of leaves.
Stay. Hold here and learn to survive.
Trust what your senses will tell you:

under the snarl and stunned sclera,
velour of the sloughed and dressed.
Wracked sounds of slaying: frantic,
xanthic as the blood’s failed alembic.

Yelps fill your dreams—
Zuul’s, you pray, not among them.

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