Jenna Lyles

The Holocene
Sutured to prods of excavation:
likeness. A little soul. A gouged
species. Descendants of
the same dancehall cave, gamboling
into the waning hues of the Holocene.
No technical tool, no
simple machinery, nothing
sculpted in the image
of discovery. Mask
upturned sees an osseous,
alabaster thing. Formed in
dolomite. A heavy bead in
bed with marbles. Two flat feet
an ingress away, moon-cooing
man. Mouth raked into
a limestone wall.

In Passing
She is not a portal, you
passerby. Nothing lies
beyond the doorknob nose, window
eyes, threshold lips. The doorknob
knows you want to touch it. You,
passerby: shoulder brusher, pane
knocker, manners man, palm shower,
mouth pounder, easy talker, friendly
face the mother of mercy—already
forgiven. Take your pass
and be on by. Make a tunnel
somewhere else.

Jenna Lyles is a McNair Fellow at the University of Alabama where she is pursuing an MFA in prose. It is there in Tuscaloosa that she is also an associate editor for the Black Warrior Review (and budding birdwatcher). Her most recent work can be found in Sweet.