Hunger

When they first fell in love, it was darling
that Adam didn’t mind the rain battering the roof, slipping
through it even, that he put his face up and let the water
lap onto it, down it, that he would kiss her after. Nothing in the world

needed fixing then. Eve liked that he walked around naked,
unaware of textures, of the way something could look out of place
against something else, unaware of himself, and sometimes

unaware of her. She had not minded, back at the beginning, that he hummed
in his sleep, that he never thought a day was bad just because
the chickens had escaped—they’ll be back, he said, and he was right—
and he did not worry about fruit rotting from trees—they never had before,

why would they now? Worry creased Eve’s brow, and she wanted to tug
at his sleeve, make him comfort her, but he was whistling up and down
the lane. She could not escape that feeling of dread—that coiled

in her stomach and rattled—of what might be, of all the possibilities,
yet Adam could never hear the hissing. Instead he kissed her forehead,
told her to cut flowers, make a bouquet, put her face to the sun,
all day if necessary, and to the moon, oh that moon singing to the night.

Was it so wrong to one day decide to take the plate out to him while he was down
on hands and knees, planting wildflower seeds, making love to the earth with his hands
while she paced their little house alone? Eve sliced the fruit open,

red giving way to white, the flesh of apple glistening under the light
bulb of sun. Aren’t you hungry? she asked. Not really, Adam said, I have everything
I need now. But this one you’ll like, she said, it’s one you’ve never tried.
He stood up, squinted into a leaking sky, wiped his brow and reached.

 Like Love

    (In memoriam: Anton Yelchin, 1989-2016)

There’s no telling at the beginning what this will lead to.
You shake hands, you make a pact with yourself you are brand new.
You roll down the windows of this new love, let the salt of ocean
air reach you and don’t worry about rust. Not yet, anyway.

There will be trips into the canyon and out, and up the highway
to towns that don’t recognize you, that teach you to be open,
to cities with lungs of flashing lights and traffic stops and car crashes
that remind you to breathe this existence like it’s never gonna leave you.
You press the gas pedal and rise from vale to hill, born anew
wild into the future. This love, ring and pinions, engine and steel.

You don’t yet know what makes you feel powerful
can also crush you, or you know it but never imagine it,
not like the way it will happen, the moment calm,
a standstill—the kind that allows you to glance away,
that lets your mind wander for a moment
so you don’t see it coming. It’ll shift fast like the punch of a fist
and pin you to the next moment and the next

until the beginning—Leningrad not yet Saint Petersburg,
the continent of your life still vast and complicated—
slips from this place, easy and willing, this breath, this
broken-open heart.

 

Shuly Xóchitl Cawood grew up writing poems and stories on her father’s blue Selectric typewriter. She has an MFA from Queens University, and her memoir, The Going and Goodbye, was released in June, 2017. Her creative writing has been published such places as The Rumpus, Zone 3, Cider Press Review, Fiction Southeast, The Maine Review, and The Louisville Review, among others. You can read more about her work at shulycawood.com.