Modes of Protection


You can swing a pitchfork to ward off the mountain

lion, bang your Moses-staff into the dirt so

the rattlesnakes know you’re there but

you’ll never have the calves

of a cyclist so may as well rust

the bike in the barn.  Are you looking for a husband or one

extra nightstand?  Are you afraid

a tree will fall on your house

or that a house will fall on you?  Remember that shellfish should be

cooked fully, stop signs at least yielded.  Here’s an idea:  Try it

with titanium dioxide instead.  Try

rubbing a brown egg across your belly while you say

his name for thirteen nights.  Chinese

elms make you sneeze and they break beneath

the snow but you planted a dozen more because you love

their creak and moan.  Ice cream can be sucked

from the cone but, woah! the head freeze.  Fingerprint

your lover before the rubber goes on, sage

the new house before the furniture

arrives and never mind the leaky

well—them oysters can’t

complain and everyone’s thirsty for more

sludge.  You pit earthworm against leech and wonder

why the soil is dry.  You tell lies to lovers in the dark

but believe in the Resurrection.  Tell me,

what suspicions can I affirm, how can I stick the needle

further into your eye?  Why don’t you keep scraping

the sugar from your teeth

with an icepick.  You will thank you later.  


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(Antionette) Nena Villamil is originally from Baton Rouge, LA and has an MFA in poetry from New Mexico State University. For the past three years she has lived in Northern New Mexico, working for non-profits aimed at improving education for at-risk youth. She also teaches at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.