By: Barbara Daniels

A man thinks they’re made of chain
stitches, stiff appliqué. When
they enter a room, he smells

their blood. He rises at once and
leaves the room of a woman’s
body, her half-drunken hat,

the flounce of her skirt.
He’s scared of old women’s
hands like spatulas, legs

furrowed like corky trees.
He walks out to water.
Big Timber Creek pulls sand

toward the ocean, stirring up
filth. He reads its dark glossary—
purling, cabling, casting off.

The lip of a mushroom leers.
The sky exhales. He closes
his eyes and tries not to breathe.

Barbara Daniels is the author of Rose Fever, a book of poetry published by WordTech Press. Her second collection, Talk to the Lioness, is forthcoming from Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press, which previously published her chapbooks Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen. Daniels’s poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and other journals. She has received three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.