you are hiding your scoliosis
in poses, grown
restive inside.
you have high heels on
and are menstruating
despite him.
stop trying to 

make love to the camera,
just act normal
but also like you
just discovered aging
and you are a prison
of adjustable skin. 
look surprised by time.
and could you do it akimbo,
only with your hip bend?

I am a red flour beetle
but less menacing
and standing
in a half pirouette
remembering to also
tuck my waist inside my

I need to see just the nipple,
so pull your shirt that way.
don’t look at it,
look at me.
chin up,
legs crossed,
let’s imply something here;
don’t give the milk away.
(laughter from one side).
and don’t grin, it makes you look
can you think of the most traumatic thing
that ever happened between you and
your best friend’s father?
sometimes a flash goess off
near my left eyelid.
try to cry,
or at least make the motions of crying,
but then right before it hits–
call it a female orgasm.
sometimes both go off.

I am doing it with microscopic
eyebrow gestures and
no pants remembering
to arch my back.
MUCH better,
he speaks to me as if I
am brick.
but now do it with just your
but also,
don’t smile.

your teeth are off-white
and unmatched.
and uncross those legs.
can you turn to one side?
I need a shadow that traces
your buttox to tits
and then  to vagina
but I don’t want
anything else in the shot.
he speaks loudly
like a football coach.
put your pussy out.
hips swiveled.
head down.
lips shut.
I am in akimbo
with just my hips and
eyes putting my

pussy out.
and that’s tiiiime.
I am hopping off the carton
and shivering
from the fan and
the sensation of throb
propels me to take the
envelope from his hand
as my ankles are
cut from the straps
of the boots and
everything hurts

i’ll call this one
(laughter from one side).
he is staring at a screen
and I am expressionless
as nothing, or not
i’ll pay you a little more
next time.
you can walk,right?
I can’t drive you after all,
my wife just texted me.
be careful.
he tosses that.
and you really should see a dentist
about that front tooth.

I am nodding,
dispossessed but
not evicted yet.

“Happy International Women’s Day 3/8/2014”

“when the terror becomes unbearable,
the other becomes God.”
–Louise Gluck

confinement can be comfortable.
felt familiar in
the grip of load:
my chains
hung from me like the tail
of my self-throned
coronation robe

when I hoisted myself
on self and made policy about it,
my divination crumbled in it’s cell.
started at my temples,
made my crown;
the veil that obscured
the trail of my widow’s march
following the scent and
stepping lightly down the roads
that my men roamed further apart
from each other to leave me
in pieces in rows in their
new lovers’ homes.
on a shelf,
freshly dusted,
gilded by the yellow dust
of whatever stamen she picks.
I was mired in sudden freeze,
then implosion,
then retraction of amends
and I came

full at them
hook in mouth like
hungry lure.

“Doors #11”

I’d be hard pressed
not to tell you what a doe-eyed
impression you leave: bare
silk chest, moans
to emasculate yourself
and the way
your mouth dropped open
when I opened the door,
recorded in my brain
while something twists my nerves
searing sheath, uncovering,
I’ll remember that.

I’m looking up at you
about to laugh
but know better,
learned to lie still in
quake. I spend days
rehearsing affection
in the mirror.
your hands are kind of
around my neck and
you’re honest to god
the sweetest, warmest thing
I’ve ever met.
I grab your forearm
and dig my nails in.
practicing being
about certain things,
I snap my teeth shut.

please what?
you say.

I’m trying not
to laugh,
just kill me.
I say it again,
hit me.


I’m in the doctor’s office
trying not to laugh
as he keeps pressing me
“what was your father like?”
I don’t have time quite frankly.
this man is asking me if I ever
feel like I am watching myself from
outside of my body.
I say sincerely,
sounds like you think I’m a ghost.

I’m trying not to laugh.

he is outlining various traumas
I may have experienced in my life:
my drinking,
my family’s drinking,
my previous assaults by men.
we talk MS, autoimmune
we talk allostatic load,
latency of neglect,
the firing of nerves.
the confusing compression.
I’m just talking about the mirror
and gesturing a lot to the air
about the fact I asked for it
and then my legs went numb.

that was the first time,
I say.
when I asked for her to enter me.
before, she did it without asking.
I nod as if he is
answering the questions.
    get on it with then.

Sir, I am possessed.
I don’t have time for this.
I stand up,
suddenly able to walk again.



send him a polaroid
of one tear rolling down
your cheek and don’t tell him
you got suntan lotion
in your eyes.
and don’t drown in the bath.
prove your
f ee l i ng
and that you have
f ee l i n g sss.
when I was a child,

colors came out of walls
to talk to me and said:
to survive
place yourself in a box.
there was a room of girls
and we would tell stories.
I live in a box.
it’s about

10 x 10.
and when I walk,
it moves with me.
and one of them says in
a British accent, get on
with it then.
10 x 10
and I am screaming inside.
and everyone wants to

see me cry
and my mouth is
set sternly but
more importantly,
I have had a recurring vision
that I will kill myself
at the age of 34.
over and over I watched myself
leap off the bridge.
I just have to not kill
myself and I get to walk right
out the ancestral curse
and you’d think
well certainly
than crossing
a tightrope
or tricking a man
into switching places

but the thing is
get on with it then
this box. 

“the box


I ignored his question,
showed him the
callous on my palm,
referencing my need
to grip.
sometime I have rough sleep,
that’s all, I shrug the bruise
he licks my hand  with his tongue
without questioning my need to
hold everything so tightly
I’ve succumb to carpal tunnel,
arthritis, delusions of
grandeur and infancy.

has anyone ever talked to you about splitting?”
the doctor asks.
I was twisting the straw
in my fingers, contorting my
face and confessing things,
sometimes i like to shoplift.
“Who is Catarina?”
the doctor asks.
“splitting is a phenomenon in which you sort of leave your body
to allow another persona
to take over.”
the doctor says.
sometimes I like to squeeze worms in my fingers
until they pop.

          “like possession?”

my posture is severe,
having been found hunched over I am
upright, hands crossed and
sometimes I peek at Christmas presents.
“no, more like split personality.”
the doctor is taking notes and
eyeing me so intensely, I almost
laugh. don’t tell him my name
is Arachne. not

sometimes I watch the mirror dance in candlelight
            and wait for her to come in
              I break men
like the swell that rises over bridges
engulfing islands with her mouth,
we break men with turns of

“Sarah, have you ever felt like  you were standing outside
of yourself?”

we break men with
dulcet metronomy,
or the way words do:


it keeps no record of wrongs.
i’m saying it out loud
and I’m noticing my drawl
drawn out that’s how I know
he’s come round.
placed toffee on the other
mantle the way he likes.
try not to ask about
whatever wayward lover’s
been side eyeing
me or just puckering
their lips and I’m
hor d’ouerves.
of time.
but here we are
marking everything
xxx with my fire finger
so I decide to
begin again:

love is patient.

I am trying not to get lost
in the mirror
which is a tall fucking
order (but drawing it
out so it goes
t aaaaallll fucking
when the little girl
enters the room.

the audience is lost,
I know. ok, so
there’s me plus
my reflection
how many
in the room?


“Formula #2: Descriptive”


the second one I called
was Hecate.

I am on the floor
in the stained glass
room with the brown carpet
and the yellow walls
and the paper flowers:
bright orange, yellow, red,
dusty and a sprinkle of
musk from the places
I shoved them and my
dripping skin;
eighty eight degree body
flailing impetuously
flattening them.


I am flipping over index cards.
the coral & lime sheet is lined
with shells, some broken
and rocks, pieces of concrete I
remember picking up in Maryland
when I saw the perfect house.
a ceramic lemon bowl is full
of dirt from catacombs,
a burned scripture,
red jasper.
my fingers digging
at the bottom,
tips filthy,
jagged, can

today we are reading up until
we are forced to stop:
is not easily angered
which means I have gotten
past does not envy
but I have not gotten
past temper,
I am indeed a wrathful
cunt so
the second one I called
was Hecate.
have purpose,
a patent resolve.

and I always pause to look
in the mirror,
not unsure. just a
tremor. old reflex
to watch my eyes change.
part my hair,
look past something;
my facile understanding
of this and
my dolorous step.

we break men.

crushing debris
between my fingers
into a nanoscopic
form settling
permanently on my
floor or carried
on my soles.

“the incantations”

 at three pm,
I show up to the church
just my tourmaline in
hand, hair covered
and I begin.
    God, I renounce all
        evil in me.
my hands twisted
like roots, the white string
of my cuff ties
between my knuckles,
and he says
take your time.

beads of sweat fall
down my spine and
I can feel the pleather
stuck to the bottom of
my thighs so that if I moved,
it’d rip.
    I’m obsessed with time,
    and that’s not the issue
      but how I count it
    in riddles.
he cannot see the way
I move my leg;
the natural tremble
it’s developed.
        it’s what I say in
    blackouts, or even now,
      the way it has to be correct.
    the way it spills out of me.

daughter, what?

I’m nodding
my head in some sort
of agreement with the
rush I feel from purge,
the glow of sun
through pink stained glass
across my cheek,
the bend of legs
on pews,
the comfort of
the ailing,  the
to ailment.
the comfort of beads
in hands, the

I am practicing
walk into the room
but also
remembering what
I scream at doors
in panic.

“the recitations”

I have a recurring vision
of me on the ground
twisting string in my fingers,
delirious and the street
lights have exploded and
I swear I can’t breathe,
I swear I’m not forsaken,
I swear I renounce all evil in me.
tell him that my legs are jelly.
sir, I cannot walk anymore,
I repeat to EMT that refuses to
give me oxygen and
you materialize, screaming
I am praying for you.
you are not making it happen.
you are seeing it first. 

wait, back up,
that’s too complex.
the little girl is doing
cartwheels in front of a small
blond child but when she sees
me looking again.  she skips in
a circle and smiles.

I know never to bet on
anything that talks
so I push the whole thing
aside, keep walking,
feel a bone in my knees

“nine of wands”

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