unscheduled and I had been
comfortable in shifting drought.
I avoided the yellowjackets
hidden in the grass
with my careful, calloused toes;
seasoned from walking too far
and too hard
in unpadded sandals and
my sky blue sundress
when the first sun of March hits:
flimsy, strap always falling down
so I have to keep watching the way I
carry myself around men.
I crouch and the hem slips up
my left thigh to expose the
garter you gave me.
not the daisies I wanted,
a ring of bruises
in the shape of your open mouth
still fresh with conquest;
lasting impact of
your parting breath that
said nothing and now
just hangs there and hurts
when I shower.

I’m counting cicada shells
under the picnic table;
a gesture of presence.
someone told me to stop reading my dreams
and I needed a year to pass.
I scrubbed away the last of your fingernail
but I have to ride those
bite marks out.
I blink and a ripple in the sky
bursts and she,
condensed and aimless,
shows just one day’s worth of
now naked, she’s black and soft and
surfeit with mild violence,
crackling and completely

my feet are covered in mud
before I even notice the shadow
wash over my bangs.
drenched in flood my head
is dark red
because you liked subtlety
and I liked demonstrative movement.
a hint of auburn wasn’t enough to show
blood with just a little bush
so I adorn myself with ritual;
hair dye and cleanses,
little thorns,
little kills to draw your
attention.   my knees hurt and
all those cicadas are dead
so I stand to lift my face to the thunder.
a small gesture of inflorescence.

open my arms purposefully
like petals of a rose
exhaling in relief for the drink
her master brings.
parched from the work my dry words had done
as they roamed free all over
your front yard.
God makes pacts with penitents
and you barely have a face that isn’t
my reflection so I’m itching to be clean and
fresh and
start again.
I stick out my tongue to catch her
drops and I feel
bold with my repentance and ready
to wash away the phantom
teeth that bait me.
and suddenly charged,
the gray sky remembered:
she had lightning.

and suddenly illuminated
I remembered and
everyone can see,
I am the dark thing
inside of me.



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