Lourdes Heuer
In the Beginning

          so little rest.


All living things must breathe.

Oocyte. Ootid. Ovum.

Heifer. Cow. The old milk snake

still shedding her skin to nest

through cloudy brille in the leaf

litter of the melaleuca.


The bony oarfish, the shiny

sea monster washed ashore,

her thousand eggs swarming

out of six-foot ovaries. They flood

the waters of the sea. Spoonbill

and loon feed on the belly full


of krill, the severed tail

and multiply on Earth.

From August to May the feral

Muscovies breed on our driveway.

They incubate their clutches

for a month, twenty minutes


a day for each hen to drink, eat,

and shit alone under the sun.

Duck was your first word.

They were everywhere.

Even when the dog flushed them

past our seawall, they returned.


Of course I understand

the pushback. The bedtime stories.

The midnight snacks.

Thirst and pee.

Water and water. Always

the reaving of day by night  


by day. When I find you

in my bed at 2 am, I take

my pillow back, yes,

then push my nose under your nose

to breathe in what you breathe out

              it is so good.





Found In Volume 50, No. 01
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Lourdes Heuer
About the Author
Lourdes Heuer is the author of two books for children, forthcoming in 2022 from Tundra Books/Random House Canada. She teaches at Broward College and lives in South Florida.