Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak | Stacey Balkun

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Stacey Balkun is the author of two chapbooks, Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak (dancing girl press 2016) & Lost City Museum (ELJ Publications 2016). She received her MFA from Fresno State and her work has appeared or will appear in Gargoyle, Muzzle, THRUSH, Bodega, and others. A 2015 Hambidge Fellow, Stacey served as Artist-in-Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2013.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Antler-Girl as Eve

The harvest came and went
leaving its baskets of fruit
for baking. I learned pies,
tarts, crumbles. I turned
up the stove and boiled jars
of preserves. The serpent

asked me to reach
up to the forked tongues

of bare apple branches
and bring the last fruit

to his slithered lips, then 
mine. He re-named me animal

though at first, I heard antler-
girl. Panicked, I hid near the river

until our god found out, threw me
and Adam down to this cold

world without my oven mitts
or blackberries or salt.

The bible didn’t tell you
about my antlers, how the nubs grew

from my skull or how hunters
gathered near the clearing

desperate for a shot. How I shrank
to the size of a rabbit, hid

in a burrow and swore
that when I gave birth,

my daughter would be electric,
free from this old gospel.