I read a note out loud to myself:
everything that is really hard
is going to save your life
and a blackbird landed on the branch
outside my living room
window.
still, their eyes small and
sharp
waiting to dive,
waiting for the buzz of cicadas
to start again.
that reminds me,

I say in my head,
i’m emaciating.
I take a sip of water.
starved from the looking
without touching and
I want too much
has many meanings.
I read the words aloud again
and pour myself a thimble
of almonds.

it is first that I craft the lie.
I begin to charm him:
untie a ribbon from her
rib cage and kneel,
bind his wrists together
and lick his inner thigh.
do you believe everything I say?
I stare intently when I
ask things.

and then you become the
braced masochist
and I become
the looming hit.

“maelstrom”

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