Untitled, from the Silueta series, 1980, by Ana Mendieta
Mud learns to live with mites, worms, beetles, and ticks.
And Lioness digs up the earth where a warthog cowers in his den.
You know you are loved when she tears you to bits, brittle thing.
The lioness tongue softens you up all the way to her bottom.
Roots, straw, weeds, rain your crown, hija de Ochun.
Even Earth’s suffering arises from pangs of love.
When Lioness fangs diffuse the blood we call it liberation.
Wax hisses from the smoldering wick, curtains you draw go shoosh.
The last earth imprint you ever left on asphalt from thirty floors up.
A shoe curved from the work your instep leaves behind.
The breath of the lioness heats up your shoulders and your neck.
A genetic photograph of every cell that ever lives exists in a lioness mouth.
She tears into the riverbed and root hairs clog her claws.
Ancient bacteria get all up in you.
Control the fire and it burns deeper, flashing life into sleeping embers.