this next section is called

 

It’s the little things but reversed and someone is screaming

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only two days ago
your hands wrapped around my throat
and tossed me on the bed
and still dutiful,
I am on my way
to pick up a bag of cutlery and dishes
for our house from the front porch
of a stranger’s
when I stop to admire the cracks
in the side of the building.
the wall is coral, faded but still
garish, stands out.
it’s brick and

this building has no doors and
one broken window.
these defects in the painted halls
lining my new city catch my
eye each time I run an errand
and I pay my respects in
photographs      stopping at each one,
trying to remember how the boulders
haunted too      how the ocean felt
on my wasted ankles at dusk when I guzzled
vodka Big Gulps and watched the
white crabs roam the bay.
watched myself dissolve into
the bits of me and can I remember
how the sunset looked draped over both
tide and flatirons,
hold two things at once
without favor?
how it feels to lose several
small countries you claimed.
I’m invaded.

these overcoats that rot
hold space;
there is natural beauty
here but it shines brightest
in demise.
these bricks are painted to distract from
it’s true inability
to keep a home  safe like
the way men have held me;
hugged with their claws,
I cracked at the touch     put my rosy shades on
I only see them
in their handsome sway.
I snap a picture of the edge of the broken
glass pane and the beginning of
the paint peeling into
white–the fissure.
I trace my finger
over a chip and watch
it flake.

how they left me.

“doors #1”

my place,
cracked and full of red:
a carnelian web.
you see my long legs
dangling before you see
the rest of me.

“heart” 

 

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.

i begin to charm him,
untie a ribbon from her
rib cage and kneel,
tie his wrists together
and lick his inner thigh.
someone asks
and then?

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

“maelstrom”

No matter what kind of sleep I got, every single day I woke up with one thought on my mind.
    Today is the day I jump off the bridge.
    I would first make the coffee and then feed the cat, sit quietly at the table and stare at the birds. My mind was in a daze, a sort of blankness that defuzzed itself and materialized on paper. I typed almost everything except my dreams; those were handwritten. I was careful in the morning but never again after that.
    It was usually 9:30 by the time I left. I rose around dawn and did nothing for hours just waiting to take my walk to the bridge. The outside was brutal. The city closed multiple times that year due to snow and I was careful.You would think someone with a suicidal plan wouldn’t worry about the tread of their boots but that’s all I worried about. Mornings were long. Not just the layers but the careful concern, the way I studied each outfit in the mirror all of them swallowing me in fabric. I am anemic and hate being cold. In winter I sustain by tea and leggings, scarves, hats and sweatshirts. Electric blankets cover me at night. I hate being uncomfortable but I have to cross the bridge today.
    Today is the day I jump off the bridge.
    I got up at dawn, drank coffee, fed the cat and then puttered around getting dressed, taking a bath, getting dressed again.The walk wasn’t that long. Sometimes I listened to the people pass me on the street but most of the time I had headphones in to distract  me. Head down, I appeared confident, determined about a location. There was always a steadfastness to the way I marched and I appeared non-threatening in my puffy jacket and glasses. I didn’t want to jump off the bridge,I had to. Compulsively, I walked every day to complete the task.
    No one was out this day. It was 9:57 when I reached the edge of the railing where I was now crossing the bridge instead of the sidewalk. There was a couple cars but hardly anyone had passed me and today there was a woman on the bridge. She was also covered but gazing outwards. I felt seen by her even though she hadn’t looked my way yet. I continued. If someone is on the bridge, I feel like my performance will be rated. How well I leap to my death is important to me and that is why I have not done it yet. She would surely stop me.
    I remained as brisk as I could, however, the ice startled me. It was in patches but it was on the bridge.
    Today is the day I slip and fall.
    My head was down so I didn’t see her climb up but I did look up to see her right leg still on the railing and the rest of her horizontal and then falling. My breath stopped. I remember that my breath stopped. I did lean over, despite my fear of heights and ice, to watch her fall right in the middle; a sliver of water in ice, the river dotted with freeze. I thought that was lucky. I imagine a fall like that would kill you but the ice would cut you first, break you hit. The thud would be remembered. I wanted grace; the way the water would simply freeze you and fill you and hold you like a mother. There was no one around now. I looked behind me and then back and not a single car or person was there.
    Today is the day I jump off the bridge.
    I checked my laces and I put my right hand on the railing and then my left hand on the railing and then my leg. I let go of the straw.


“The Woman Who Saw Her Own Death”

“You want to take me to a place called “Alligator River?”
    He handed me the brochure.
    “It’s a wildlife refuge.”
    I took it if only to get him to stop holding it towards me and flipped it over to see the address. Somewhere in North Carolina.
    “You want me to go with you on a camping trip where we sleep in the wild and then kayak down the river in a place named after its scariest inhabitants–Alligator River? You think I am going to do this after specifically talking to you and only you about my irrational fear of dying at the jaws of an alligator and my persistent dreams of alligators that we both try to decode?”
    “We will just walk and I will point out the alligators to you,” he calmly asserted as if I hadn’t said any of that.
    I stared at him.
    “Alligators like their young. They are family animals,” he shrugged.
    “They protect their young. They will kill their young if they have to.”
    The brochure sat plainly on the console.
    “Don’t alligators eat their young during famines?”
    “Hard times befall us all.”
    I got out of the car and leaned into the window.
    “The refuge is called Alligator River.”
    “Yes. It’s a good time at Alligator River,” he smiled.
    I half twirled debating walking around the car to my entrance.
    “E x p o s u r e.”
    How do you debate these things?
    “Take me kayaking first. Here.”
    “Of course.”

“The Dream of Alligator River”

we may pray to find the piece of god
inside of us but we are
what we are in human life.

my knees hurt from walking the line
between prophecy and
presence as I stomp the
concrete for miles.
I’ve been dreaming of fish everywhere.
I am going nowhere;
only getting older so
sometimes I need a second
of stillness   rest
or I suddenly need to stretch
my calves on the railing
and I stop in the center.

it doesn’t matter if I hear them,
I always turn around and
two or three or a
lone man step around me.
once distracted, now
astute, upright
without visible panic
growing my back into a knight
and I keep pace behind them.
a gargoyle with cat
ears and a smirk
and I can walk for miles,
a giant keeping stride with
the beat of legs in front
of me.

watch

women move like machines
too.

 

“catcalls”

“And what is it but fragments of your own self that you
would discard so you may become free?”

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