Creatures in the Last Hour – Julia Watson

Rabbits camouflage under pine needles.
Gophers gather in storm drains. Against the window,
the birds are petty. Rehashing old wounds.
A brown recluse braids her web in darkness
under the pipe-drip of a bathroom sink.

I am too tired to react; to want to set traps:
this is the day you leave.

For now, you sleep with me in a tangle
of blankets, t-shirts yet to be folded.
Small of your back exposed and I’m aching
to trace. To feel if the skin will remember
all the nights I held you like a shield.

For now, the world is teeming. Flushed
in awful pink. Each set of eyes are watching,
but yours, and these witnesses wonder
how an unbroken body can leak.

I feel the emptiness of light encroaching.
It is almost time. I go to lean over you.
Your face caught in a dream. The sharp, cleft chin.
Your lips’ raised skin. Salute to the spider,
my jaw unhinged.

Julia WatsonJulia Watson is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and is a second-year MFA candidate at North Carolina State University. She won the Sassaman Award for Outstanding Creative Writing from Florida State University in 2018. Currently, she is the Writer Liaison for Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things. Her works have been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Atlantis Magazine, Hysterical Rag, among other magazines. When not writing, she enjoys cooking vegan meals with lots of sriracha.