Layla Benitez-James


A rabbit might be taken away from a butcher by two different people and prepared separately; I mean, the structural integrity of my days has been compromised—
one woman  may take my legs and heart; I mean, a man,
——————————————————————-who grew up on the cold North Sea
might take my chest and head. 

There was a time I swallowed a clove whole to better nail my insides down. There was a pink wall, overgrown with red bougainvillea, and the three of us all sleeping in one attic—
——————————————————-I was happy. 

I want to keep wanting. In their warren, rabbits wonder whether it is worth their
to swim out from the center of their mist. Prince of a thousand loves,
you should already be familiar with the gradients of the field,
with the curl of little deaths in the wish-slick grass—you won’t remember 

my new year’s resolution          or the pleasure of cold concrete underneath us; we came
like moths struggling with damp wings, our skeletons weak but wild together. 

Boiling pith and peel, I remember the sting of her on my tongue after a shower, I mean, how she never tasted clean, only different, and how when I took so long with those carrots, they started to sprout and took themselves back to the garden.
——————————————-They say you cannot both enjoy the electric bloom of the artichoke and its flesh, but I have seen a woman standing
———high up on a platform
—————————— ———leap, and be caught,
——————————- ————————————and passed from one partner
——————————- ——————————- —————————-
  to another. I have seen her flung
and land, unharmed. I have seen both myself in the glass of the window and, beyond it
the frost                                                           with a hold on the ditch: seen
the mist                                                           and the frost talking turns with the water:                              ——-————–——–——–————the rabbit and not the story of the rabbit,——–——–——–——–—-the creature itself, and not some caution——–——–——–——–——————————————-run across my cheek.


Layla Benitez-James is an artist and translator living in Alicante whose poems and translations have appeared in The Acentos Review, Anomaly, Guernica, Waxwing, Revista Kokoro, La Galla Ciencia, and elsewhere. Her audio essays about translation can be found at Asymptote Journal Podcast. Her first chapbook, God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode But He Had to Make Sure was selected by Major Jackson for the 2017 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and published by Jai-Alai Books in Miami, April 2018.

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