You? you will know me by
the devil etched squarely on
my thigh and the red
index nail that is tracing it.
the microphone,
the mini skirt,
the high laughter,
the long legs beaded with sweat
as I saunter right in,
the three thousand women behind me.
the way I told you so first. 

if you write the book,
no men will want you.

I am at home later
wearing nothing &

laughing,
braying,
eating cashews, watermelon,
sipping mint lemon water,
air conditioned.
alone and contented.
alone and chased,
chaste, Artemis.

watching it drip
from my lips
like little magic
fits of rave
& fury recorded
for posterity.

“the women”

 

there are two giant
bruises on each thigh.
I am careful not to hit them
with my fingers except
I already have
and I shriek.
you don’t even ask.


I spent most of my time
that late winter
searching.
what you would say:
combing through options,
in flux and in search of
weight.
and some guy,

a stranger
in my house, said to me
after I had given him reiki
for money, for rent,
for phone bill,
smirking on my apartment floor:
“Smile.” and added.
“What do you look like naked?”
and added
“How much to see?”

and I stood tall and robust
like a weed in Kensington’s
concrete garden:
stepped on but
won’t go away
and  then
suddenly growing
into a gun.
not only that,
but suddenly
making rent.
fuck.
ok.

you don’t even ask. 

“doors #5”

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 that my legs are jelly
blades stuck to the ground.
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 she skips in
a circle and smiles. 

 

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

“nine of wands”

the first card I pull is the Magician.
say nothing about it.
my couch is stained from cat vomit
and chocolate ice cream
and smells
like fresh linen spray.
I am uncomfortable
at all times, at all
hours of every day
and this is no exception.
I am trying not to look in
the mirror behind  you and
focus on the red wine in the glass,
bottle on altar, not comment
on eye color, guess placements without
ado, turning over cards to let you
know.

 

I try to explain to someone one day
what I am seeing in the mirror.
no one is there, I say this first
to myself on a walk
around, pass a little girl in pink dress.
fuck.
a haze, like a fog surrounding my body
begins to build and my voice,
almost like it’s been previously
recorded and then played back,
comes through me and I have to
repeat what she says.
but sometimes the track is off
so I am two seconds ahead of myself
and it’s hard to watch.

 

wait, stop, back
up. I’m muttering I think.
too complex.
stop myself when her brother looks.
no, don’t tell him that.

Australia looks better than Alaska.
that’s all I say.
we have some wands between us.
that’s all.
keep it to myself:
predicting
deaths of
others
and also
practicing
hugging people
when they walk
in the room.

 

“the magician”

I start taking bets on who
shows back up first
knowing it’s wrong to bet
on anything that talks
and quite frankly, you can’t
Mrs. Shepherd told me in the 12th grade.
AP stats, still proud I aced that
class but you can’t stop a sociopath
from never feeling again.
can you?

 

I say to him.

I have a Smith and Wesson.

 

People think angels can’t have guns and
that’s not true,
hand him the weapon.
we just can’t fire them.
hold it.
get comfortable with it.

 

“you cannot bet on anything that talks,
Sarah.”

 

But I simply don’t believe it. 

 

“the arsenal”

I’m a sociopath,
I practice in the car window.
it’s 92 degrees and I
am only half melt,
half kept a bitch
in a yard but
with a water bowl,
no chain. polyester
pink collar says “PRINCESS”
watching the screen door from eight
am to nine dark.
see if they’ll wave me in.
there are two kids with snow
cones dripping down their arms
nearby. I smile
you sneer.

 

he wants to know everything.
I tell him everything,
I say, turning towards the
young girl.
she is wearing a pink dress,
has long uncombed brown hair,
stick legs, her older brother nearby
and is taken by
my insouciance.
my foul mouth that
yelled fuck
earlier for no reason.
my centipede tattoo.
he takes her sticky hand
and they race to the swings.
she turns to see if I’m still
wavering in the sun.
truth is, I’m actually
six feet in the ground
and only children can see
parallel lines.
I smile.

 

I’m wearing a mask,
not touching a thing,
sweltering. practicing
honesty.
practicing
hugging
people
when
they
walk
in the room.

 

“affection”

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
loose
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
pithy
about certain things,
guarded,
I snap my teeth shut.
please.

please what?
you say.

just kill me. 

“reversing”

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. 

“Poltergeist”

 

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
off.
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
waiting.
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
yet.

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
tides.

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

we break men with
dulcet metronomy.

“Poltergeist”

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