Faith Henley Padgett


We didn’t used to get this close— you’ve seen
at least one clip: great white’s pink maw carving 
through a capped wave, stacked serration a blind 

bite— we orchestrate a destruction that commands
our witness— I heart a shared video of surveillance 
footage: bloated alligator in the aqueduct of a sewage 

treatment plant, a boa constrictor thick as my thigh
wound tight, coiled through its clamped, green mouth, 
both dead, still crushing— auto-scroll and from its vantage, 

a snow leopard wrestles a ram to free-fall, jaws at its throat—
we did not celebrate Shark Week when we did not need 
reminding of the brutal, violent facts of predation— once, 

you needed to be there, in the flesh, to feel that reverence—
now we binge adrenaline: children who can’t quit the swings. 

Faith Henley Padgett is a poet, educator, and maker. She currently teaches for the Museum of Children's Art, and has previously taught for the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and Milk Press of the Poetry Society of New York. She co-directed the 2021 Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival, and her work has appeared in The Western Humanities Review, Hanging Loose, Permafrost, and Red Cedar Review, among others. After earning her MFA from Sarah Lawrence and BA from the University of Pennsylvania, Faith has relocated to San Francisco, unceded to the Muwekma, Ohlone, & Ramaytush people, where she gets inky running letterpresses and fiddling with type.