the man ate,
bit right through the sweetbitter of her,
and how could he not—
He swore she begged, didn’t she—
like a mango in a white bowl begs for teeth.
And so he ate again and again wounding her until he pleasured.
He begot girls, too many girls, running around with ribbons
in their hair, the sound of his end in their playground songs.
He escaped to the jungle, hunted what was small—warbler and finch—
weighed their small hearts, the knitting of muscle.
His wife sent word: the village boys are circling.
The woman sent word: the village boys are circling.
He kept hunting: taking down bird after singing bird.
The poem borrows the line “the village boys are circling” from an interview with Toni Morrison in the documentary film, “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am.” And the line “bringing down bird after singing bird” is from Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “Garden of Flesh, Garden of Stone.”