Tad Richards
Soft Wax

She wants to make

a figure of herself

in soft wax

the consistency

of Vaseline

but firm enough that if

you dug your

finger into it

gouged with the nail

you could peel some out and

the hollow

would hold form but the

wax would stay wet

she’s heard adding Crisco

makes it soft

and greasy but if

she takes it to

Marie Laveau’s Candle


for the faithful or

the odd tourist

the lard in the body

could ignite

and the whole image

burst into flames


He gives her

a vegetable wine

steaks from the haunches of

she decides not

to ask what

she’ll be the next course

stretched taut underneath him

serving up her

rawest part

she wonders what kind

of girl flesh she’s made of

what savanna

what veldt her

foremothers wandered

thighs pitted by fine sand

hips and ribs scarred

from crouching

among sawtoothed blades

in parched grasslands for the

all clear signal

they’ll meet where

she keeps vigil at

the water hole

some there now will be gone

by morning