they say I talk too much
and I’m inclined to agree,
perhaps I’ll
show them the scorpion etched
on my clavicle and no one
has ever seen my childhood home
I’m compromised
by the simple fact I think
I might be a ghost so I’m
always checking mirrors
and calling 911, waiting for
the fireman to touch my arm.
they say
“your leg is not numb, ma’am.”

but I can’t be sure so I make
him touch it again.
one trick is never tell them
anything. I like my men
to think I wait in lonely
cavern, ache
and pray for them.
palms clasped and reverent,
sort of rocking like that.
real southern too.
just sort of worshiping
the idolatry of shadow.
they make me repeat it:
please. and thanks
for everything.

my men remember me
incessantly and always
cut out of starry dough:
soft, head half cocked
looking up at them
with servitude but
sideways like I’m
about to laugh,
grab their wrist.
“let go of control.”
then me in my day skirt,
hair covered and
candle lit or twenty seven
if I’m out of time.
pocket full of them.
what a violent question.
you’re sunburned,
gone for weeks
now a wash of here
and forehead fervid,
humid wind clasping
the back of the choker
I’m wearing
while your left hand lifts
my skirt.
my thighs are soft,
it’s the skin that brought
you back.
what’s that?
you say,
looking at the blue and
black ring of shadow
my  birthmark you swore
would identify my body
in a crowd.
bet no one sees this.

it’s the way your jaw
bulges as you bite your
ocean wet tongue
that was just kept safe
under my earlobe
before you begin to
pull the rope
til the emerald center
pushes hard against front
of my throat
almost as if you are going to
bring the stone inside me
and please.

what a violent question,
“Five of Wands”

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