Love and Excavation

Chloe Firetto-Toomey

Sometimes, I hit something solid,
rasping sounds tucked among a labyrinth of bones.

                                    William Archila, The Gravediggers Archeology

The Archeologist inspects arrowheads,
holds pieces up to the porch light,
practices hitting pressure points with chert,
flaking stone to precise tips as the Tequesta once did.

Watch yourself, fucking the Archeologist like a porn star—
the only way you can come is to think of getting pregnant.
Your little raw soul quivers.
It throws words at paper, rocks against a brick wall.

When your airwaves constrict like frozen pipes
he tells you about crypts in solution hole estuaries,
brings you echinacea and a coffee plant.
He rubs your feet and retells the necropolis of uncountable bones.

Begin to think of words as artifacts.
Begin to think of poems as
canopic jars
or Egyptian ushabti dolls.

As you write, he sits by a brackish river,
squatting for shelter near coastal alligators,
a hundred mosquitoes nursing.

Write about leeches squirming through shoelaces:
how he picks them from his body,
one singular pull at a time.

Write about how you don’t want
to take the morning-after-pill,
how it sits like a zazen on a block of obsidian,

how he marks his crafted sphere with a ring of blood,
and pulls another beer from the cooler.

Chloe Firetto-Toomey is an English-American-poet-essayist and an MFA candidate at Florida International University, where she serves as poetry editor for Gulf Stream Magazine. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in, Crab Fat, Cosmonauts Avenue, Origins and Crannog literary magazines, among others.