haley wooning


the scarlet flower turns a heart
between its thin, bony fingers
and so falls the night’s cloak,
brackish and full of the dead

my hand open beneath it, open
and filled with blue birds that
come to drink in their silence –
the whole world is tamed

Medea’s hair floats down the river,
entangled saffron, lilies, carnations,
benzoin and veils – the incense refutes
it all, and smoke curls in the ghoulish

membrane of lofty heavens, tenderness
refuses to breathe, too much of the
earth is starving, the sea flexes dragon
scales as the last geese pass over

suddenly, netherward, the moon turns,
the hunter sheds his cape and bow,
the hounds goggle loose tongues as
I pluck them, strange, strangled doves

in the rook of my arm, spun on the loom
of a woman’s madness, my own, an
animal indifferent to the flight of arrows

– have I not somewhere scrutinized

my own negation? A small, white moth
feathered over rotting eggs and the stirrings
of an incipient life, pearled onto my flesh
like dew or jewels, the contents of

the universe, my mother, identical and bloody
and with a mouth filled with blood and rue,
the chamber’s forbidden eye, I know all about you,
the insincere unfolding, the wild oats

the constellations that dazzle, dim, and fall
to the monstrous, indifferent sea – I stay
living in my lantern, cupping my hands
around the blue birds, trimming these

small, beautiful flickers of nothing




Haley Wooning lives in California with her partner and cat, Puck.