she picks her teeth with a hawthorn barb grinds bone-meal for rhizomes birch-dander clouds the air in the empire flowers are the work of hands the Queen eats maggots and ditch-muck counts finger-bones protruding from the graves of botanists one: in life I kept receipts on a bulletin board mold-bloom embellishing a tire a kudzu-riddled fire truck two: my father’s leather ledger when the empire was born the Queen blessed it with rot and riot tossed her infants in its churn three: my predictive cloud-based hands my opioid heart today the empire’s weatherman predicts snow the Queen is collecting press-on nails for her newest iteration of briar gathers crude and grime for a hex a dead horse by the roadside conjuring flies
Robert Campbell is the author of the chapbook In the Herald of Improbable Misfortunes (Etchings Press, 2018). His poems have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, and many other journals. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Murray State University and an M.S. in Library Science from the University of Kentucky. Read more about him at robertjcampbell.wordpress.com.