Insect. Crow. Innocuous noise-maker.

Cover your face in my hair;

it’s thick straw against your nose,

in the creases of your open eyes—


it reaches the back of your neck—

your shoulders rising with breath.

White sheet, ghost-lifted by your knee.

Of your teeth, which one am I?


I hope the sharpest. I hope the one that clips

your lip. The sole of your foot can’t really be seen,

the lines that pulse there in sections.

You may shed skin throughout an apartment,


throughout two cities: skin of your back, face, foot.

You may move through different streets.

Your mouth may form a different language;

harsher consonants—


But I know your body’s history. You, named

after the bright yellow-wood tree.

You, a section of my body, my missing;

I move to collect you.


Scientist. Voyager. Offensive Wanderer.

Warrants your other parts: fingernail, loose hair,

a hollowed stomach, part of a lung,

a spectacular spread of limbs.

photo courtesy of Jackie Rhoades

Katherine DeBlassie was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize, her work has appeared in Zone 3, Urhalpool, Court Green, and Cutthroat. She received her MFA from the University of Maryland. She was a finalist for the 2009 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize and received a Work-Study Scholarship for the 2010 Bread Loaf writing conference.