"What I’m Made Of" and "My Excavated Heart" by Kathy Engel

What I’m Made Of

I am a crab I am
chemical dispersant
spill, I am spilled
spilling, fish swelter
stone, I am slick, eyes
burn bleed oil, nose
oiled mucous, talk
spits from my oil
swollen lips, gurgle
and sputter drip from
my ears, crude ruts
my cheeks, neck scar
leaks oil, hair sheens
nipples weep yellow
collostrum oil, my
gut gasses, hips sling
through oil, thighs, wrists
calves oiled, ovaries
discharge oil, ankles
shellac shells, feet
smudge oil, I cough
up oil, skate oil loose
oil bowels, dna splits oil
blood scabs oil
bay of oil fin of oil rooster
crowing oil crow cawing oil
oh crab, oh oil of bird

—Kathy Engel
Summer, 2010, Gulf Coast, U.S.
Originally published in The Mom Egg

My Excavated Heart

Left in a room
in Nicaragua
with a mother
whose name
I can’t recall
forced to watch
her daughter’s breast
sliced by a contra,
told it to strangers
like me from the land
that paid for the milk
kill, this time
machete, tears eeked
but didn’t flood, hers
and mine, she wiped
her cheek, waters
drying up as a used
breast. What is
the name of a mother
whose child
is murdered?
Mother of Gone. Mother
of Stolen. I was
going home to line
my womb, another

—Kathy Engel






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