Andrea Kneeland

from the Birds and the Beasts


First there was a tadpole and then there was a great dark lake that grew out of the tadpole whose tail fanned out like the feathers of a peacock, like the feathers of a fan of an old woman whose fan is meant to mimic the feathers of a peacock and from this woman's arm there gleamed a sliver of white, like the moonlight, like a slice cut straight from the moon, annexed and excised in the dead of night, in the dead of secrecy (as most coups are executed), and though this usurp of power was bloodless, this was not the opposite of bloody, no, for this victory was only bloodless because the moon itself could not bleed; no rivers out from the scarred and circular blank-clock face, only some pocks like numb craters, like drained lakes, which grew bigger even than the faces of the monarchs and with a pallor more sallow (this is how they recognized the face of the moon and its nearness to the gods), and once it was recognized, the signs grew more plain to the regency: the moon and its mimic of an impassive white eye, the emptiness of the headless, celestial body (for the darkness is the body and the white of the moon just the removal of face); the moon is a locket that hangs on a chain, the negative print folding outward; in its (in)finite whiteness, the universe succeeds, toward the shape of a honeycomb, each hexagon collecting matter: the pond of (blood) honey; the eye of (slept) moon; the egg of (closed) hand.

Andrea Kneeland’s the Birds and the Beasts is forthcoming from The Lit Pub.

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