Andrew Hemmert

Death Has a Thousand Pictures in the World

After a line by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Of a common swallow. Of a common swallow
split open, and the beetle still ticking
in its stomach. Of a parking lot
where midnight children take their mothers’ cars
and start up the mountain towards their bodies.
Of the Virgin Mary’s portrait perched
on a cigarette display. Of a cigarette machine
with knobs like pinball, what catches the eye.
Of a stranger’s smile like a hook and line.
A mange-broken fox shadowing its way
through hedgerows and bedding down in domestic,
pesticide-royal grass. Of pesticides
in garages, and pesticides in lungs.
Of the spider and her venom, that marriage.

Andrew Hemmert is the author of Blessing the Exoskeleton (Pitt Poetry Series) and Sawgrass Sky (Texas Review Press). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various magazines including The Cincinnati Review, The Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review. He won the 2018 River Styx International Poetry Contest. He earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and currently serves as a poetry editor for Driftwood Press.