The ruin of my body is where memories go
every time someone dies when I’m not looking.
I found my grandfather open for the first time
post-mortem. The Embalmer: a fox
searching for a new burrow. The first one
he made in me. After, he came
to the burial riding in my body
the hollow of my throat
where I had grown soft like a peach.
What was his real name—the Embalmer?
I held his bushy tail, let him lead me
to the burrow he had made
in my grandfather too, nestled
between the southern edge of his ribs
and his bellybutton. This is the place
I close my eyes
try to kill him. The red
was everywhere. I found fur
under my nails—inside my pillowcase
—clogged down the shower drain. How
did I wash the blood out from
my own ears, my tongue, my teeth?
What does he call himself—the Embalmer
that animal I hated to name? I feel
his claw marks each time I speak
pressing into the place
I don’t think he ever left.
"Dwelling" was a finalist for the 2018 Up North Poetry Prize
Born and raised outside of Rochester, NY, Erin Kae is a proud graduate of SUNY Geneseo. Her poetry has been featured in Vinyl, Sonora Review, Crab Fat Magazine, and Fugue among others. She was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Aster(ix) Journal, and was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Locked Horn Press Publication Prize for their issue Read Water: An Anthology, 2019. Her first poetry chapbook, Grasp This Salt, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2019. She currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts.