covered in hot water and onslaught,
broken
like the bed we used
to make it in,
found shade in shower.
  wanted to skin myself
to get rid of your fingerprints
but I didn’t want to be noticed
either.    instead
I sat cross-legged
in the tub for 45 minutes
to steam some of it out.
it was a waste of water
you might have said.

I usually go to bed by ten pm
swathed in cheap sheets I picked up
from a trash can: moth-bitten
and low thread count and I washed them
but you’re right it’s a sense of self-deprivation
I wrap myself tightly inside
while I’m
tortured by my low self worth,
absent flowers, cold feet,
lamp on next to me and
wax all over the unfinished table
you were making
before I threw the chair you had finished
down the stairs to get you to
open up
here is what I need
I might have screamed
if I was better at controlling my
“communication”
but it ended in a soft bite to your
neck and a cloying kiss
you can tell has been rehearsed
time and time again.
it’s heavy;
my tongue large with
little darted lullabies

I’m up now and I
linger in the hallway,
nothing in my hand,
wave in my throat
watching the front window;
voice hushed and brusque
and barely noticeable
when I finally move to speak
to make my command on Earth,
withdrawing as it creeps
from its host;
like low tide,
like you

your sudden
retreat.

“February”

what does all of this
mean to you?
she waves her hand
to no one. 

you say it’s important,
ask me to tell it in
“linear order”
but how can I get away with
things telling stories like
that? and besides,
I have survived time
and cage and aged
in linear order.
my proof
    (flex a ripped tricep)
is endless strength,
brimming veins
that have learned how to
vibrate, hum, cluck,
even whistle when your girl
walks by me       I’m
a snake

through her core
and now all you see is a doe
gored in your forest and
I got to eat the whole orchard
I asked for.
are you lost or
just quiet, just hiding
from the butcher inside
it?
you know I’m dense,

ice cold, flush with
forked tongue ready to puncture
someone,     i’m lush;
maintaining a sense of
dam and containment
even in my most berating
fits of temper or panic,
I manage to remain
frozen these days
like a cracking lake
you say I am
sharp and

bitter.
but underneath my skin,
that blue-lace casing,
a carnise river:
little tributaries to
the turning of the world
in linear delivery.
and you say
full of rage     and I say
ok, just wait,

you and I are from
the same place
and I start to pace
the block once more. 

III.

I believe in wormwood,
dried root,
my brother’s ashes
in a silver heart or
a ceramic urn
locked in vase
locked in mirrored chest;
a chant, a poem.
datura when the time
is right.

sometimes I do ceremony,
sometimes I just let things pass.
we do that for others,
carry our grief quietly,
bury things deep
within ourselves.
but sometimes in a fit,
I spill over.
tell you everything.

you said
I like to swim
so I am braised with razor;
become a carnation lake
at your feet and
you said rain–
I like gardens.
so I condensed and
waited to show off my new arms
lined in fresh alyssum.
my cycle     I always meet them in
winter
where my only
light is moon.
my flowers blossom
under the chilled night,
drip a dark nectar and
I am thirsty and
you already know–
I believe in
altar.

I believe in overflowing
chalice.  you believe in
holding space for growl,
holding me with
distance.
you watch me lay the
dill in bowl, line the bed
with tourmaline.
run the bath with
chamomile and yarrow.
I am full of tincture now.
I can move like a jaguar:
slow and black and
hungry.
I am hard to see that way.
you said
I am game.

you’ve been watching
jaguars move,
you’ve been memorizing motion,
I drape myself in constellation
so you can better see me,
storm so you can better feel
me and I traipse across the forest
floor waiting to be found.
my tonsils growing
chelicerae,
my rib cage growing legs,
my bottom becoming fat
with thread and
I know what you like
and I know that
you are game.

you are writhing
game in tiny, tiny
snowflake threads
hung far above the
ground.
 switch places
I become the woods
encircling your howl.
you become the kicking,
breaking patch,
the river marked
by footprints, then
lost, then drowned.

in winter
it is long and dark
and hard to contain
myself
gorged with nectar
hidden by
the wind.
sometimes we do that for
others: hide our
spines.
you watch me prey;
sip the drip of
the effulgent crescent
bulb I worship.
you become the shivering
deer, caught fly,
gutted bunny hooked in

jaw.

I become the
scorned red bath,
the woods,
the bottom.

 

“datura moon”

January 5, 2014 and we
have arrived in
North Philadelphia.

“hypothymia”

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