Mating Habits of Endemic Species by Jill Bergantz Carley


Mating Habits of Endemic Species

by Jill Bergantz Carley

August. The poison oak was beautiful , summer buckeyes first to defoliate + those oily leaves first to color up; I learned to never turn my back on the ocean but you, you you were upon me an arm shackling my waist mealy hand reaching toward my breast harried in the lengthening shadows alone on that ridge.

Afterward I layed in a bathtub in the hot garage I was living in naked as the day was born harboring this secret we all know: I’d given him the thing he wanted, osprey circling overhead car hood motor-hot tender meat of my outstretched underarms pinned, held, silent prey I’d never speak of it again he told me: 

go clean up an hour passed & dropping me at the door, my keys tumbling in the lock before he’d gone.


author photo

Jill Bergantz Carley makes her home in Calaveras County, California, where she lives a half mile from the stoplight in a sweet town five blocks long. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poetry has appeared in ENTROPY, OPOSSUM, Silver Needle, & is forthcoming from 580 Split, Okay Donkey, Collective Unrest, and elsewhere.  She’s a Tupelo Press 30/30 poet, with a new poem published daily in March. You can follow her as she writes her way through the Ides & beyond at

(Pronouns: she/her)