Your Body a Bullet by Kami Westhoff and Elizabeth Vignali
Mistletoe sinks its tendrils into the oak tree, a cuckoo lays her murderous egg in another mother’s nest, a worm slips into the grasshopper’s gut and convinces it to drown itself. Green leaves unfurl, the warbler feeds her accidental child, and the pond continues to shimmer. From the slick burrow of the snubnosed eel to the human autosite brushing her sister’s teeth, Your Body a Bullet lifts the veil between the ghastly and beautiful relationships of parasites and their hosts. All are given equal measure here, inviting us to face our own extremes and urging us to think about what really drives our behavior. A spider says “I have no questions/about God, just the irrefutable alchemy/of your infant apothecaries.” The female anglerfish “can no longer discern where my body ends/and yours begins.” Where is the line between instinct and decision? What are we willing to do to one another; what are we willing to sacrifice? These poems are an homage to the brutality of survival, the nuances of love, and the exceptional lengths mothers will go to for their children.
Publication Date: November 6, 2018