I couldn’t stand the sight of me.
instead, I watched the willows
perfect their melancholy
some days when I walked
to the edge of the city and back.
they carried it naturally
and I tried passing windows
without looking at my face.
it’s dark at four and
forget about the moonlight,
or a headlight
or my sun lamp.
my body sees no glare or
my head is drawn
I am their winter rival.
my pores were lined with bentonite
and steam and suffered
prayer; a nihilist effort’s
worth so my skin was
exfoliated but my heart
was still blood-thirsty in knots.
Nana’s rosary was draped across my wrists
and most of my fingers stayed crossed
to become a space that contains little breaths
of God personified.
I scrubbed the dirt from every inch
of my scalp,
the bridge of my nose,
under my elbows,
the arch beneath my feet
and in between my toes.
any crack that light could fit
I tried to rinse it first.
sometimes I took the long way to the store.
it was 29 degrees and someone drew a giant sun
blanketing a tulip garden
on the side of a wall in an effort to,
I only assume,
preserve summer and cure their own
raging seasonal affective disorder.
I focused on the colors.
tried to pay attention to the subtle shift in greens
as the stems got closer to photosynthesis,
the yellow stamen, orange petals,
tint of turquoise in the grove of trees
hovering in the distance,
the way everything tilted towards the right
with no speaking masters
and no shadows beneath them.
I leaned left towards your block
focused on feeling the weather change in my tights
and mock wool mini skirt
in hopes it would
cure my malingering,
would halt my bloodlust,
my persistent inner child
bleating with her hands out
looking for touch and I am
suddenly spades out in your dead garden and
something pinned between
lines, the way that
pauses form a book,
and my thirteenth draft