Three Poems/ Kay Billie Oakes


The Mouth


They were like monsters

and with an axe to grind

their teeth to points.

To practical spires.

To kingdoms in their mouths.

Spires that jotted empires

on the horizon in their mouths.

Every blessed bite they took

left a holy impression.



And know

the stone for building was immemorial

and new, once fresh-cut


cut with stone-cutting tools

that were made of cut-stone.







If your damn problems are so damn grand, then get a grander god

to eat them whole –

beef and bones and eyelashes and all.

It don’t even barely chew – just cocks it head back

and knocks it down.


Just plain shot to ribbons and rags,

Ma ’maw made good on those songs she used to sing

out back by fire light.

Before and during

the wringing of one fowl or another.

Same as with a gun,

whistlin’ in the stinking old dark.


Now you’re just talkin’ rot.

Now you’re just clownin’ around.

Now you’ve made little mince desserts by hand

in the loud dark

at the witching hour.




The Logical End


The one who lives within

what is made by their own hands

becomes accustomed to the overgrown

grass outside

and to what lives within it.


Their eyes know the glass through which to see.

Their pink hands do know the blade.


And so,

May he eat those smaller things

that live within the small grass

by his blade,

and may his blade be an instrument of civility

lest the grass and its inhabitants

become big enough to need hands.


God help him if there is no sugar for taste.




137CBFC5-B39D-4EC5-BACA-0A3B363661BDKay lives and works as a teacher in South Texas, probably watches too much TV, and can’t stop thinking about coyotes.






Header Image: Creative Commons, Public Domain, modified.

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s