ON THE FARM SHE WATCHES
There’s an Emu on the farm
She watches me slit
stalks of mint
She grazes I cut
Her throat drums
the creek purrs
the stalks rip
my fingers smell
iron gum dew hay
slits pricks holes
in my hand
She smells it
I cut faster
She came here with her family
two babies one male She killed
them the creek purred She cut
their pen choppy
rain water foot prints feathers
I tie rubber bands
of mint bundles Her neck
The farm is loud
shrieking mating birthing slaughtering
my stomach soft
as the creek bed
too early to
a missed current
too early to
feel the beat
beat of his drum his heart
kicking scratching growing breeching
Author's Note: I didn't know I was pregnant during my time abroad WOOFING. When I sat cutting mint, the emu from my poem stayed near me, cautiously, throughout my time working in the fields. I like to think animals are intuitive and that maybe she felt my son before I did.
DRIVE DOWN FLORIDA'S
Count the number of renovated strip clubs turned churches
Circle K Baby Bottle Popped boys shouting boiled nuts baby
n’ don’t stop there lock the doors put a jacket on truck stops.
My sister taps her window with a glittered chipped nail
Points to a pasture of goats and says, Look at that field of dogs.
Drive down limestone stilted swamps made up of American
Spirits, blue spit, n’ bug spray. Babies in opal seashell nests
n’ conchs on shores that don’t hear the ocean anymore.
As a kid my sister thought unwanted babies lived in stop lights
working the bulbs that go: red, yellow, green.
We drive Down n’ pass roadside dandelions rooted in Dorito bags,
white Jesus’ crucified on billboards. His blue eyes watch coyotes
play hopscotch with cars howling at orbed street lamps.
Scientists predict Florida could be underwater as early as 2025
conchs will pick up reception n’ if the tides really coming
why not let her live in a world where there’s a field of dogs
Author's Note: Global Warming is something I harp on a lot. Living in Florida all of my life, I wanted to explore the sprawl of it's oddness and the pollution that overtakes the environment. Florida remained underwater long after most of the continents came out from the ocean, and now it's slowly receding back.
McKenzie Zalopany is an illustrator and writer for The Webster. She graduated with a degree in creative writing at the University of South Florida this past December. She is a rad queer single-mom, raising her son to be a LGBT+ and disability ally.