ISIBEAL OWENS

Busted Cantaloupe: Pilgrim

This poem is part of my collection titled Anthropocene, which was written as my Creative Honor’s Thesis at Rutgers University. The collection deals with end times as they relate to the planet, personal identity, the female body, and childhood origins. Anthropocene refers to our current time period, in which human beings are for the first time the catalyst for a major extinction event. My poetic question: what are our personal, emotional extinction events? If cantaloupe juice can traverse the globe, what psychic residues are we retaining as humans?

The orange meat is splayed open
in the parking lot of Whole Foods一
angry and naked like the corpse
of a virgin. Minivan moms go stomping
through with their galoshes. They leave
sticky prints in the grass. Ants frack
the soil for their queen’s supper一gold
has been struck. The queen is now whisky
drunk off glucose. The venom
in her pinchers runs sweet.
Her drool sinks into the earth,
into magma. Sunset blends
with sunset, and loam descends to mantle.
An underwater volcano spits it out off the coast
of Australia. The corals are going chalky grey.
Along the reef, a surviving clownfish feels faint.
Haunted by asphalt. The drone
of car engines and crack pipes.
Another life flashes before its eyes:
seeds and fingers and hot red moons.
The knives slice fire into metal and obsidian
into rust. Bricks bundled like runt babies. Our
world, a cavity along a candy necklace. Bleed
juice into blender, potion into gut.
Held between incisor and oblivion.
Click jaws into flesh.
Melt.

Isibeal Owens is a senior at Rutgers University pursuing her Bachelor’s in English. She is originally from Mobile, Alabama, but currently lives in Cape May, New Jersey with her large orange cat. Her work has appeared in Oyedrum and Temenos.

MORE FROM AUTUMN 2022 (4:2)

INTERVIEW

A Conversation with Seif-Eldeine Och, Poetry Chapbook Winner, Mark Blackford, Chapbook Editor

PROSE

An LSAT of Culture, Mike Yunxuan Li
Chichi and I, Noel Cheruto
Sudden Evolution, Eileen Tomarchio
Paying for It, Lana Hall
Decay, Rachel Lastra

POETRY

do you see me, Maya Hersh
Delineation of a Woman’s First Child as Her True Religion, Abduljalal Musa Aliyu
Busted Cantaloupe: Pilgrim, Isibeal Owens
Pray the Elegy, Njoku Nonso
Semper Augustus, Jessie Zechnowitz Lim
THE SEA SQUIRT LOSES ITS MIND, Claire Scott
The Long Call of Yearning, Guy D’Annolfo
Djinn and Men, Biswadarshan Mohanty
Last Communion, Joan Kwon Glass