All Animals Want the Same Things, by Jeanne-Marie Osterman

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All Animals Want the Same Things, by Jeanne-Marie Osterman
All Animals Want the Same Things
Copyright 2021
by Jeanne-Marie Osterman




"Plainspoken and moving, Osterman's chapbook looks at girlhood, relationships, first jobs, and the understated profundities of everyday life. This chapbook offers a delightful range of poems, including a reminder to pack all we can into our brief lives, as bees and spring crocuses do. These poems are sure to appeal to fans of Philip Levine, Dorianne Laux, or Ted Kooser. Osterman's All Animals Want the Same Things reads like a good conversation with a friend—you never want it to end."

—Janice M. Harrington
author of Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin
Poet Bio:
Jeanne-Marie Osterman
Sample Poems:
The Wild Nasturtiums        One Night in Bed        All Animals Want the Same Things


Jeanne-Marie Osterman

Jeanne-Marie Osterman Jeanne-Marie Osterman is from Everett, Washington. She's the author of Shellback (Paloma Press) and the chapbook, There's a Hum (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in 45th Parallel Magazine, Borderlands, Cathexis Northwest, New Ohio Review, and What Rough Beast, among others. A finalist for the 2018 Joy Harjo Poetry Award and 2017 Levis Prize in Poetry, she lives in New York City where she is poetry editor for Cagibi, a journal of prose and poetry. Learn more at www.ostermanpoetry.com



Poetry

The Wild Nasturtiums

My father called them the nasties.
They crawled unchecked through the yard.
Idiot-proof flower. Grows best in bad soil.
Need no sun. We had none.

They crawled unchecked through the yard.
Their bright orange faces taunted us.
Need no sun. We had none
in the rain-soaked summer of '66.

Their bright orange faces taunted us
as the boys packed their bags for Nam.
In the rain-soaked summer of '66
I sucked honey from their slender ducts.

As the boys packed their bags for Nam,
my father pulled them out by the roots.
I sucked honey from their slender ducts
and pressed the petals into a book.

My father pulled them out by the roots.
My mother salvaged the seeds.
I pressed the petals into a book.
They crumbled and turned to dust.

My mother salvaged the seeds.
Idiot-proof flower. Grows best in bad soil.
They crumbled and turned to dust.
My father called them the nasties.


Copyright ©2021 Jeanne-Marie Osterman




One Night in Bed

I asked my boyfriend
how many women
he's had and instead of saying
maybe thirteen
he looked up and began
to count them on his fingers—
Sarah, Licha, Dorie...
while picturing
each one
on my
ceiling—
Brooke, Caroline, Dot...
and as each finger extended
he smiled, wrinkled
his nose and rolled
his eyes up, up
and once he said,
uhmmmm...
the sound he made
after dinner
last night licking
cracklings from his lips.


Copyright ©2021 Jeanne-Marie Osterman



All Animals Want the Same Things

I had a sickly cat whose cure,
said the homeopath, was raw meat
so I replaced the canned with scraps
from the butcher and overnight
her gingerly eating turned feral devouring.
She'd yowl as I took the jiggling red flesh
from the fridge, pace as I cut it into pieces,
then suck it down before I could rinse the knife.

This so exhausted her, she'd lie on the sofa
for hours before getting up to prey
on the dust bunnies under my desk.
While I was watching Shark Tank one night,
a ball of Kleenex walked across my living room floor.
It turned out to be a mouse
who was carrying it to the bookcase
where she was building a house
behind my dog-eared copy of Balzac's Lost Illusions.

Seeing the mouse brought my cat back to full health.
She stalked the tiny creature, crippled it
with her jaws, sat back to watch it struggle.
I called the building super and asked him
to take the mouse away, signing
the creature's death warrant.

My sister and her husband raise cows for the slaughter.
Though my sister will eat them,
she refuses to go to the slaughterhouse
when their time has come.
I watched how they do it on YouTube.
An operator lines the stunner up
with the sweet spot of the cow's brain.
The bolt inside is captive—
held like a breath in its chamber,
then expired with such force
it knocks the animal unconscious,
then recoils to be used for the next.
And the cow lives!
The heart keeps beating,
which speeds the bleeding out,
which is the actual slaughter.

When my husband left, it hit like a bolt.
He'd held his infidelity in like a breath,
then walked away, recoiled.


Copyright ©2021 Jeanne-Marie Osterman