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.
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.

Sir, I am possessed.
I don’t have time for this. 



I’d be hard pressed
not to tell you what a doe-eyed
impression you leave: bare
smooth chest, moans
to emasculate yourself
and the way
your mouth dropped open
the first time you saw me.
some things I record.

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

practicing being
about certain things,
I snap my teeth shut.

please what?
you say.

just kill me. 


it was true, I left a candle burning. I laugh out loud. I am wearing a mask so the three people walking towards me can’t hear me say, “I don’t really care. I set my altar on fire three times in my last apartment and never burned it down.” both the smoke detectors are beeping in my new house. I left a candle burning. it was a way to get me to go back. “I was really going to walk all the way to rittenhouse like this.” I was walking slower than before, kind of crawling while standing and crossing the street at the intersection to get around them. the people with their dog. I couldn’t pet the dog, make small talk, and couldn’t grab a real thought. I can’t believe I left a candle burning.  I needed a reason to go back. the outside was indeed the antithesis of joy. in breezes, it was algid and everyone was boarded up. I was walking slower than before, kind of slithering across the intersection, leaning slightly to the right and heading back home to ensure I had left the candle burning. to sit on the living room floor, weighted. to feel the tendril wrap my head and whisper: c’est la tien, but in her brevity and english again.

 it taped me to the living room floor and was immediately intense and ineradicable. I had the thought once I was back inside that this was going to be extreme but due to superstition, thought I might want to rephrase it. shaking my head, I did say out loud, “no, this is intensity. you like intensity.” and I tried to remember the French phrase. not remember it, because it wasn’t forgotten but how to say it. I had practiced outside on my ten minute walk. vous saimez l’intensite. I repeated l’intensite to get the inflection down. it is best to get one at a time. j’aime lintensite. I was grateful for the candle, first, for the ritual that started this, then for making me sit and wait.  it wanted weight. I wanted weight and I wanted to break through the leftover things.

last time this happened, I laid down and let myself feel the pull of the earth. I imagined being toppled with dirt, someone shoveling dirt on me. I imagined the coolness of the rocks and my body nestled firmly as in a grave. I would guffaw and let the cat sit on me for grounding. I said things that had no meaning like I’m lying on top of a carcass or I feel less above the ground and more beneath it. a lot of things about a girl named Rebecca who I felt was tricking me. the realization there may be no Rebecca. the confusion and me this time thinking firmly no ghosts today. I don’t want ghosts here.

note book try tarot then lay down. I grabbed my notebook and I flipped the page to see the Virgo in the second house and in big all caps DO NOT PLAY MARTYR. 
it’s too late for that isnt it I laugh out loud

“I need to get upstairs.”

I walked by my old apartment
just to feel it
grab me.
what I would miss most
were the stained glass windows
and the birds surrounding my house
but nothing else.

it was marked off with caution
tape and a sign that said
it was dangerous.
my side wall had burst.
water shot out.
the place flooded.
there were bricks everywhere.

people used to tell me
the place vibrated
and sometimes pictures fell
of the wall.
what I remember is the
mirror and the way they made
me undress and throw coins
on the floor, buy them
toffee. the way
they never told me
their name.

laying naked looking at the
ceiling guessing names,
less than a year ago
before the wall burst. 



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.
sometimes I like to fuck men with wives.

“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 are dead.
“like possession?”

my posture is severe,
having been found hunched over I am
upright, hands crossed and
sometimes I like to 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.


I wore black every day
just in case.
the train was fifteen minutes
late and I was
one month
and counting.


“the accident”

the second one I called
was Hecate.


today we are on
is not easily angered
which means I have gotten
past envy
but I have not gotten
past temper.


the second I called
was Hecate. 


“the incantations”

I don’t like to talk about my
house so I don’t
but the garage
is gone and so is everything
that was in it. my
childhood bedroom is gone
and so is everything that was
in it. one day the sink
will collapse. we have snakes
in there. other things too>.
  I have no
yearbooks. I have a couple
notes from my friends
and a swath from a cologne sample
my high school lover
used to wear between
fucking his wife and me,
a note he wrote me once.
but I am thinking of
myself younger
and the old lip gloss bottle,
a roller, vanilla scented
but pink
that I had saved because it
reminded me of an entire
freezing december
on my crush’s bench
where sometimes they let me
wear their sweatshirts.
sometimes I saw inside of them.

I am
holding my hands to the ground,
feeling vines wind up
my calves.
the way they describe me to the
ambulance is someone who
looked like she saw the horizon
close in on her and
the way they describe me
to the first responder
is that I looked to be seized
by terror like she saw the
horizon closing in and
just fell
to the ground. 


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