Trace the stone wall of my spine;
Make a quake;
The farmers make their order like this;
Christian fences that cojoin;
American in the way we keep in;
Turn out, pen, constrain;
The small things;
Cows and churches;
Pebble and udder.
The house of my sex is pink and yellow and closed.
The saltbox house of my sex is lit up with people, a choir.
Why is there no word for the vast and minute space inside a female body’s vagina,
that contracting and expanding landscape of plush?
After we fuck, you and you and you and I, there is always work.
And a rainstorm, eventually.
(It is New England.
It was a colony. Before that, a village with only a few graves in the hillside cemetery,
and room for lots more dead.
Before that, more dead, though not buried with a white marker,
the people and land and trees turned over for this picturesque.)
Puritan, you can take your cane and try to drive the snakes away,
but oh there are more snakes.
You can take your cane, make a claim,
pretend you own something for the duration.
But when I see a long length of only muscle and scale,
I feel the shiver in my pussy.
The snake in my kitty.
It is hidden or driven but never out.
Arielle Greenberg is co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic; author of My Kafka Century and Given; and co-editor of three anthologies, including Gurlesque. She lives in Maine and teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades’ MFA, and writes a column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review.