What We Eat (the Freedom tarot, traditionally the Chariot)           by Jericho Hockett

for Melanie, the Inclusive Pedagogy Research Group, & the Inclusive Teaching Writing Institute, upon their willingness to be disturbed

We are searching out
hidden nests wanting
to be found. We are
snake, wide-
jawing, chased out
the coop with egg
in mouth. We are
fingers outstretched
to identify those
we claim. We are
bird, feather-painted:
each one different
in color, each one
named. We are
cloth corners soaked
in milk, lip-dipped
to teach to want
to eat to strive. We are
calf, fresh-emerged,
cocoon-wet nuzzling
urgently. We are

learning bodies’ words,
watching ears & wings
& shivers, shifting hands
to hollows, forming
shapes to shelter
each creature’s flesh—
mammalian, shelled,
amorphous, camouflaged,
winged, serpentine. We are
furred or sometimes skinned,
bare bones gleaming
brown as bread & some
are melted into ink,
into tallow. Some have teeth
sharp that show when soughing,
some muzzles soft
with steam when lowing.
We see the way
this barn’s been built
by hands for hands
, we say
with tongues in turn
clamorous or clever,
contending to survive,
sustain, tongues licking
blood off blistered
thumbs rubbed raw
from cleaving tight
to pens as we are
revised, reconstituted,
ourselves rewritten
relentlessly resubmitting
against rejection
our course common
with those we eat
to be eaten as we are.

Jericho Hockett’s (she/her) roots are in the farm in Kansas, and she blooms in Topeka with Eddy, Evelynn, and Bastion. She is a poet, social psychologist, teacher, forever student, and dreamer, most whole in the green. Some of her poems appear with or are forthcoming from Mom Egg Review, Coffin Bell, and Pilgrimage Magazine. Her first chapbook, ‘Rituals for Dissolution,’ is forthcoming from Eastern Iowa Review/Port Yonder Press. Instagram: @jerichomariette

About the Guest Editor: Dennis Etzel Jr. (he/him) lives with his spouse Carrie and their five boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. He has numerous books, including My Secret Wars of 1984 (BlazeVOX 2015) which was selected by The Kansas City Star as a Best Poetry Book of 2015. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, FUGUE, Puerto del Sol, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others.


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