unscheduled and I had been
comfortable in shifting drought.
avoiding the wasps
hidden in the grass
with my clumsy, calloused toes
seasoned from walking too far
and too hard in unpadded sandals
when the first sign of spring hits,
and my sky blue sundress seems a
sudden hindrance:

flimsy, strap always falling down and
blows up in breezes
so I have to keep watching the way I
carry myself around men.
I crouch and the hem crawls to
expose my left thigh and 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 everything
and I needed a year to pass.
I scrubbed away the last of your fingernail
but I have to ride those
bite marks out.
blinked once and a ripple in the sky
burst; liberated and aimless,
she shows just one day’s worth
of self-containment uncondensed,
without tension, falling naked
she’s black and soft and
seamless        surfeit with mild
violence, crackling and
completely cageless.

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
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
stretch my neck with pride to
to catch her drops on my tongue,
 bold with repentance
and ready to wash away
the phantom jaws that bait me.
but suddenly charged,
the gray sky remembered
she held lightning.
and suddenly illuminated,
I remembered
I am
the dark thing
inside of me.



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