By Immersion

To get a pure pumpkin,
one with sweet, smooth flesh, you had to
pollinate by hand and tape the blossom
closed. Otherwise, the plants would cross,
get fertilized by any squash around.

Black horses wouldn’t stop rolling
in the dust, in pleasure,
legs up and out from under every load,
until their intestines tangled.
Or, at least that’s what was said in warning,

like they said Hellbenders,
two foot long, slime covered salamanders
that filled the river, were evil.
Hellbenders breathed through loose skins,
filtering that water for decades,

and I swam in it, I went in deep.

Rose McLarney’s book of poems, The Always Been Broken Plates of Mountains, will be published by Four Way Books. She lives in rural western North Carolina, where she raises a variety of livestock.