they say I talk too much
and I’m inclined to agree.
perhaps I’ll
sew my chapped lips shut,
show them the scorpion etched
on my shoulder
first and no one
no one—
has ever seen my childhood home
but 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
cave: 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.
please.
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.”
then me in my day skirt,
hair covered and
muttering.
candle lit or twenty seven
if I’m out of time.
devout.
pocket full of them.

what a violent question.

you’re sunburned,
gone for weeks without
inquiry and now
a wash of here:
forehead fervid,
a humid wind clasping
the back of the choker
while your left hand lifts
my skirt.
my thighs are soft,
reminiscent,
it’s the skin that brought
you back, isn’t it?
what’s that?
you say,
looking at the blue and
black ring of shadow mouth
above my  birthmark
you swore
would identify my body
in a crowd.

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

what a violent question,
love. 


“Five of Wands”

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