Sarah Giragosian

Mummified Baboon, Unburied

When they come for me, they come with shovels,
augers and picks. A cloth still holds dermis
to bone, but barely, and when they raise me
from an oven of hot sands to daylight,
I’m a dazzlement of husk. They lay out
my face, my hips, the undeveloped strip
of my spine, all turned to anthracite hues.
Their catalogue—bone by bone—deems me whole,
and, amassed and outlined against the earth,
I’m turned from corn doll to brittle city.
They map and flag my parts, then break me up
to store me. And later, I am encased
and placed on display. What is this devotion?
A child peers inside the glass and strains to find—
beneath some bindings—fellowship in death.
But my face is in tatters. Someone says,
It was preserved so its soul would live on
after death.
 The formula’s miscarried,
though; it’s a far more cryptic sapience
that saves me now. It’s unguent and heat,
and years of subsoil basking that keeps me.
It is for these all too precious splinters
that I’m not received, but not forsaken.

The Queer Creatures that Rise at Dusk

Out of her burrow,
                      the long-eared hedgehog girl,
to get her girl, comes at dusk,
           wobbling along the cooling sands
                      to find her lover,

compact and flac-soled,
                      with a pinprick mole
on her chin. With others, she pulls herself
           in like a drawstring, but the long-eared girl
                      draws her out,

and her back, once quilled
                      and bristling, the size
of an enlarged heart,
           relaxes, growing as soft-textured
                      as a doll’s brush.

When they meet,
                      their foreplay is gentle;
each takes turns sliding
            their back beneath the belly
                      of the other;

they nip at their spines
                      and rub their snouts
along their warm fur,
            anointed in musk
                      and sweet tufted grass.

Sarah Giragosian is a PhD candidate at the University at Albany-SUNY, where she specializes in twentieth-century North American Poetries and Poetics. Her poems are forthcoming or have been published in such journals as Crazyhorse, Copper Nickel, Blackbird, and Canary: A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis, among others.