Poetry: Insect by JC Talamantez

Lush, unfolding in exquisite image toward a portrait of relationship, JC Talamantez’s “Insect” plays with the confines of the line as it prompts a consideration of “what words will make” and what we pass on.


to enter / the house of her father

as if the close walls of a city

is a treachery of dust and pollen
after days outside

where insects twine
in stiff late light

the evening forming first along
seeding grasses

and something of the smell

of children at play / in twilight

mid gathering sky that
compels the poplars

with blunted sun
now fading

to a ring about / the last kind petal

the girl with insects


in fields falling down from
the rear of the house

she finds them in denim / finds them

among the water maples spanning
wide shadows on the hill

they don’t know enough yet
for the games to be cruel

she learns how / distance renders a man small

and care for turning stones by the trail

the autumn-chewed leaves twitch with bodies

a leg / wing refracting

the final place
of summer pink


the brown father works / the boot and blacking

under a dim of
moth-wing creeping spill the hanging lamp

his arms echo love / as
a machined deer overturned

in ice twins
the stiff hind

of a doe at roadside


like teeth on a saw blade / blue lacuna arch
the mother’s legs in slim penumbra

her unwound tears are
a forgiveness of butterflies
popping soft

on glass in high wind

she thinks there is love
between them still

she hasn’t yet seen
the creased weariness of / the frivolous ritual
in the frame

or the dog limping home at dawn

he wants to tell / the midge what he knows

that there are limits to, what words will make

how grief is not love

will not keep love
still / when it would tear

that a child is his flesh not his purpose

but she joys / the little pots of impossible black

rich as crushed pine leaf warming
impossible shine


he wants to tell her, what good men can fail at

how rile has lined in stiffened capillaries
bursting every day under the surface of things

that falling seeds are
death to the vine

though it may put down root
wherever / touching ground

JC Talamantez

JC Talamantez is a Mexican-American poet who received her MFA from Texas State University. Her work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, New Ohio Review, Salamander, Smartish Pace, Hopkins Review, Frontier Poetry, Boulevard, and others. She was a long time student of academic philosophy and teaches writing and humanities courses across a number of disciplines.

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