I get nothing done.
they kind of smile,
don’t believe me
but I amounted to nothing

I show them
sweeping my hand over
an obscured history,
really erased but also
no real success
I laugh, undaunted
usually and also kinda
breezy. I like smiling
and they like watching it.
composition open
pointing to one sentence
I like watching time.

I’m obsessed with unproducing,
or burning a process as you
watch it unfurl. it’s like
setting the bottom of each trunk
on slow fire and then you
climb to the top of
a pine watching it
engulf you, eviscerate
whatever you were.
I am up by dawn, or close
to it,  thinking this is what
true love is doing
and I’ve done this before;
proving habit,
and the deep deep
null of feeling
that I really possess
daily filled with
plotting and idle time,
idols and
a rumination of these
invidious encounters.
my ability to rectify.
something always in my hand.
something always tinctured;

distilling and then
wanting you to see it:
my nullness and
overreaction and courting
that must be
facade or instinct or
vexing but
mold it into something
better than the ice cold
well I am.
palms open with pleas.
that’s where people fall.


in the snow bank
in the bottom of the frozen
hole trying to help
the little
girl.
I think a lot,
I say softly.
we are two inches from the
other and I must admit,
I flutter when brushed.
and I like learning
words.
point to one
as he leans in.

what’s the meaning? he
says thumb pressed firmly
at the bottom of my buttox
til the mark sets in,
not clarifying if he means
the definition or
whatever we are touching.

“duplicity”

 

“I’ll jump in. I get it,” the man who offered me the beer can said. 

He was wearing a cat suit of all gold and looked like the man in the blue and silver. They kind of matched. They both shone. I didn’t even realize that someone had turned all the starlights off until then. I looked above him and saw the string there, with the translucent plastic, off so it was only the fire lighting our faces. They both looked like skin of shiny satin you could stroke, like big, manicured cats. When the man in all gold leaned forward, I saw he had the same headband as my old friend. Gold coughed, passed the joint to the Blue who stared at me and whispered,“We’re aliens.”

 

People have me all wrong. They have their projections about me but they don’t know me. I let a finger trail over his jeans as I moved past him at the crosswalk. They think, this person is abrasive, too Machiavellian, maybe a bit undiscerning. I pause in the middle of the street so two men split and walk around me. I just tell it like it is and swallow what I want. I was around 12th and Chestnut and walking back home after stopping at Capogiro, as was my normal routine at the time.

 

“I’ll take banana,” I said.

An unkempt young boy; blue eyed and pocked, was working today. His black hair was greasy and he leered. No time for games.  I had finished the sorbet long ago and needed to get home. I have drawing to do, I thought but truthfully, the weed had worn off and I was tiring of my playlist.

“I better get home,” I said out loud, standing abruptly and ignoring the group of men in the corner who had been staring at me. Blushed, I coughed, as if I hadn’t spoken the first time. Just a clearing of the throat. Just a narration in my ears to my mother on the phone I clutched tightly.

I love walking. I turn the headphones up. For miles. Someone bought me these noise cancelling headphones recently  and now I can block out all of the traffic. I can block out the passing screeches. The city titter. Horns. Groups. I can listen to The Gauntlet.  This is the part where you are about to start running. Your lungs build. Chest pounds the bones with inimitable force like  bong. If you could hear your pulse in your head, it would sound like tick tick tick. Rapid.  Mladic. 

 

I love this song, I thought, closing my eyes and  turning my noise cancelling headphones up.  I didn’t even feel the guy try to grab my bookbag as I stepped off the curb. I didn’t feel the breeze, just the hot, mid-day sun and one bead of sweat roll from the top of my throat to the bottom. And it’s accompanying electric guitar. My right knee pinched and the temper of the drum, flared, spurring into several taps at once. My pulse to match, I could feel  even though I couldn’t hear as I turn my headphones up.  The sound rising. Not the man yelling behind me. Not the screech of the tire on the pavement. Not the horn. Not the violent crescendo I wanted but (perhaps)the violent crescendo I deserved.

“The Woman Who Saw Her Own Death” or “The Woman Who Walked for Miles”

You couldn’t hear them move over the forest floor.  The snow was fresh and soft like powder. Each step left an imprint but no resounding echo. You could only hear their breathing. You could not hear their steps.

Algid and windless, the day smacked without breeze. It used its atmosphere like a cave of teeth biting you on the cheek, or on the wrist if your glove slipped down. Your neck if it had become exposed. They had no choice but to walk through. The tension combined with the dropping temperature and lack of water, snack or any sense of direction; how does one not go mad with fury? It was the middle of January, seventeen degrees and she felt it.

Hardly any birds circled so they were mostly trapped in the infinite stillness of the woods and the remnants of a harsh blizzard that slowed them.

 

“It’s the eye of the storm.”

“Okkkk….but that doesn’t mean it’s not coming back.”

“It’s not,” she texted.

She bet her friend didn’t check her weather app. She bet her friend didn’t question her. She bet her friend trusted her to lead.

“Watch, I bet we get the yellow car,” she said to her friend the day they stood in line at the amusement park.

 

It was hot then, shining, blissful. They had eaten nothing but sugar. They were waiting to go to the final water ride of the day, spent, thirsty, aging yet jubilant. The trams were in no particular order, randomized, and every time they waited, she guessed.

“ I guess with about a 98.4% accuracy.”

Leana laughed loudly next to a woman’s ear, so loudly she shot them a look only Cat saw.

“Yeah, ok.”

“What? I have been right every time.”

“That’s 100% though.”

Catarina tapped her thigh to keep the time as they stood.

“Well, you can’t be right every time.”

“True,” Leana said, sort of smirking, half engaged, half stuck in her own secret fixation.

Catarina kept her hands free of the straw most of that day, preferring to play with the strap of her bag or the cap of her aluminum water bottle. She tapped her thigh only in line sometimes. They were engaged off and on but paused when it happened.

“Did I tell you about the time I drove my car into the car dealership?” Leana suddenly said.

“What?! Tell me now.”

But the train was rolling in.  Both women’s eyes widened as the big yellow tram rolled up. Cat smiled the biggest and threw a look behind her exposing all of her teeth.

“Now, you trust my psychic ability?”

Everything was hiding.  The snow had ceased but every once in a while a tree shook when a bird perched and a big clump fell startling them. They would both look up, unspeaking and resentful and a growing worry between them. The cold was a barrier. The distance was a barrier. The unsettling feeling that this was not going to end was a barrier They heard a crow call a few hours ago; at least three or four hours ago. They hadn’t spoken since she looked up and said,

“It must be noon.”

Her friend didn’t question it or speak to her.  Cat turned slightly to check on her. Her breathing was labored. Her cheeks were bright pink and dotted with tiny drops of ice. Leana’s face was pallid, stinging, her endurance waning and their breath came out in synchronized huffs.Together, they marched but separate, each in their own quiet obsession.  Catarina was counting hours. Catarina was reviewing lists. Catarina had practiced this walk, had a deep resolve, a spine made of knife and her knees were going to buckle but she knew what adrenaline can do. She drew hearts on her hand with each passing hour. The only time she pulled down the glove. Pockets devoid of cell phones, only a sharpie and some protein bars, there was no cell service here. She had advised Leana to keep her cell phone in the car so she didn’t lose it. Pliant for show only, Cat reassured her.

“I have a metronomic heart, you know. I can always tell the time”

Leana trudged behind her, adjusting her parka and getting ready for the first small incline.

“Cat..”

This was hours ago, when they were friends. She turned, bright, dawning, her auspicious eight am self: well fed, hydrated, head covered but face still exposed. She smiled to show her teeth.

“You’re full of shit.”

All they saw were endless groves of bare trees dotted with sparse patches of evergreens; a brightening to the dense forest of trunks. An interminable white crystal blanket to cross kept them moving, reserved and privately poignant. All conversation had ceased between the two friends. You could only hear breathing. You could not hear their steps. 

Catarina guessed it was about three or four pm. They had gotten lost, separated from the trail and if they were not out when the sun finally went down, there was no way they were going to survive. She could see it in the distance: the veiled sun, the yellow halo obscured by boundless gray barely shining through the clouds. The sky heavy and pregnant with fresh blizzard. It was an unforgiving winter. It had been and remained unforgiving now. The sunset they faced would turn to black without portrait. We will survive, she had lied.  She knew that soon she would hear the twig snap and that she would run. She didn’t know what her friend do but she did know she would hear her scream. She would dart across the forest as fast as she could. She would sprint. She would sprint the whole way without looking back or without time to reflect on her reflex. She would have no time to wonder.

Forget the whole thing. It was agony to know and it didn’t seem fair. Wear the blindfold. None of this was fair. But she did see the wolf. She was reaching to pull the pen out to mark the four pm chime in scrawl on the veins of her left hand. A ritual of safety. That’s how they met. He was gray and white with yellow eyes. Low to the ground and keen, he held a silent snarl between his teeth. She couldn’t hear their steps. Her head lowered,  she did not reach past her hips any more. Heedful, without making a sound, she turned her head slightly to the left. From her periphery, she saw his friend skulking carefully and quietly on the other side of them, low and snaking through the branches. Walking this clearing for the past five or six miles exposed them. It will be faster, she said. She already knew.

At least one branch had fallen and the wolf wouldn’t see it. He would step on it just as he was getting ready to pounce and she would be afforded an extra second that would propel her. She kept her eyes and head down. She inhaled and felt her pulse begin to thrum and warm her body in anticipation. She began to lift the balls of her feet. She began to clench her palms into fists and from her right, she heard the snap. From the left, she felt the hesitation. She knew there were only those two. She began to run. You could not hear them breathing. You could only hear screech turn to scream and then only her own breath quickening in time with sprint; each quickening step. You could hear a flutter of wings above, one call and if you had time to look up, you’d see a flock of blackbirds pushed to movement from the violence below. But there was no time to look up.

 

“The Woman Who Saw Her Own Death” (or “The Woman Who Ran From Wolves”)

It was 91 degrees and rising. Sunny. Saturday. A bit windy but a bright blue sky and I had been looking forward to the weekend since Monday. Home for a brief stop and my favorite place since I was a kid– the beach. I had the day off. Well, I took the day off. Fourth of July, let freedom reign.  I got my best book and my old bikini and five seconds of space from my family, my colleagues, my friends.  I was ready this summer for love. Ready for whatever may be. My tarot cards had been flashing Two of Cups and I was keeping an eye out. If there’s anything I trust, it’s tarot.

My mother let me borrow her folding chair, a towel, her flip flops. I always needed something when I went home. I always needed something in general. It was a littler windier than I would have preferred, as I said, so that sand whipped my thighs as I was getting ready. Better to wait on the suntan lotion, I thought. It was already too messy. But bright: bright, hot and sunny, like a heat storm which is unusual actually. On windy days, I usually see darker clouds even in the distance but the storm was coming and hadn’t caught up. Skies were serene, blue, clouds looked placid but the wind. Because I was starving, and I knew it would be bad but had to eat, I reached into the red and green Christmas colored bag my mother let me borrow as well.I had only brought a suitcase with the essentials: my laptop, my book, two outfits, underwear, socks, my three year old bathing suit that didn’t fit my breasts right anymore but I kept wearing it. The cup of the inseam twisted so my naturally crooked breasts looked even more crooked.  Frugal and disheveled, I didn’t replace it. I also always brought my toothbrush even though my mother had one for me. I believed in packing light, and flight. I believed in moving.

The minute I opened my hummus container, the wind kicked up once more and blew all over the top so there was a nice grating as I bit into the first carrot stick.  Nevertheless, she persisted. Persist in ideology, robustness, routine. Establish a routine. My new inflammatory flares were forcing me to eat differently, choose differently and make sure I ate breakfast, less coffee, less walking, more veggies. I dipped the second stick in and another gust blew. I turned my face to the left and felt a nice big chunk of sand land on my tongue.  No more bread for me and all the better for it really. If I want to meet a mate, I’d have to shape up.

My friends say I’m lucky. That I’ve always been lucky. Yet, here I am, five years in a row alone and not always the better for it. Rough. I would say I’m getting rougher. I would say I’m getting scabrous, prickly to the touch. Like a cactus but drier inside. And empty. And void. I look at the stand to the right of me noting the yellow flag which means “Caution,” but not “Danger.” Not “Unallowed.”  I place the hummus back in the bag and pull out the container of blueberries pouring a handful into my palm and then beginning to count. On red days, you can only really go calf deep. On yellow days, you have to swim by the stands.  On green days, they didn’t blow the whistle that much.  I stand up to brace the water. I came here to swim.

The sand was scalding hot. The sole of my feet burned a little on the way down. No reprieve, and my cheeks were whipped the whole way down. Hesitant for a moment, I turned back to face the chair once more. Something in my stomach lurched as I looked at it there, alone, made for one. I could hear my family’s laughter in the distance.  Something in my chest hurt. I kept going. Dipping just my toes in at the shore line, the water was ice cold. Coriolis effect be damned, a storm was coming and had brought up the deep ocean currents. It was also July. August had more jellyfish but also warm water. When were there crabs? All the time.Growing up here, I knew everything about the beach.

I usually tried to avoid beaches with lifeguards because you can get away with more and my Everclear Slurpees were more hidden from sight on secluded spots or at night, but to be honest, that was a long time go. Today, it made me feel safe.  The waves weren’t particularly large but there had been some rip current warnings at the beginning of the walkway. A sign was posted; probably always there but today I stopped and read it. Swim parallel to shore.

“I know,” I said out loud, as I began to wade.

I’m a strong swimmer and my friends say I’m lucky. I once ran headfirst into a cement mixer with my car and came out unschathed. Well, I broke my sternum and concussed mildly but the police didn’t take me to the hospital. They took me to jail for drunk driving. My head leaned against a metal toilet as I threw up all night and couldn’t see straight but I lived. I got that charge reduced to a first offense. I got that jail time reduced to house arrest and an ankle bracelet. I got that first arrest completely stricken from the record.  I once also slid across the trolley tracks on my bike and flew headfirst into a car. Doctors said I was lucky I was wearing a helmet or else I would have concussed worse than I had, and probably worse than the cement mixer, and my glasses would have broken in my eyes. I fell through a treehouse and landed on a rusty nail that pierced only the rubber of my shoe, not even touching the foot. The glory of the ocean is current, tides, undertow. The glory of luck is timing. 

I was up to my knees and waiting. Before I went to the beach today, I promised my guides I would do the ritual. Throw the blueberries in the water and say the right name. Thirteen of them. As I waded further in, I began to let one drop from my hand little by little so there was a curling line of blue dots at the surface for a moment. A fish darted past me. An omen. 

“Whole body healing,” I said out loud.

And then dove in. Algid ripples cut through my skin like shards of ice were piercing me. Something pushed my torso backwards: an undulation, a phantom hand.  Arising covered in goosebumps, I let out a long breath. Slowly, I let my toes touch the sea floor doing a quick sweep for broken shells that could cut or crabs that could pinch. Planted, I looked behind me to see if I could still see the fish. My body was pushed backwards by the force of the wave. I swiveled my body to the right a bit to see if I could still see my stuff or had it blown away? Squinting, I could see the little blue chair in the distance. Smiling, turning back to face her, a larger wave was forming. Get smacked or go under. I chose to dive in again. An underwater sway took over and my body was pulled towards it slightly and then pushed towards the floor. It felt like something was dancing with me but viscous, moving and in control. The tips of my toes pressed into the sand as I held my arms upward so I could propel myself back up. It was only three seconds since my head went under and my mouth opened again  to salty air. It felt longer. Where I stood, I could feel the current pulling me backwards now. Had I not been firmly seeded in the ground, I may have floated further. I looked back to see if the lifeguard was still there. But I began to feel dragged.

I let my body take in what I was experiencing. Rip tide. Without any dawdling, I began to swim parallel towards the stand, a little further from my stuff.. I hit the trolely tracks the one time because I didn’t move perpendicular across them. It crossed my mind twice today, that accident. Once, driving here over the bridge and then again as I read the rip tide sign and hearing my friend says “you’re usually lucky anyway. Things have a way of falling in your lap>” She was referring to a job opportunity I was just offered to do private freelance consulting for less hours but more pay than my social work job.” This came shortly after I decided I wanted to quit social work and I hadn’t even applied for anything.  But i’ve been fortunate in accident too. And I did feel my luck changing.  I swam backs towards the beach perpendicularly for a moment, then parallel again. Then perpendicular, then parallel. What rip tides do is exhaust you. They pull you further and further out and because  they are fast, they pull you far. They don’t take up the expanse of the short; just one line, but that one line is a bad place to be.  You have to swim parallel to the shore to get out of the current, but it’s not easy and by the time you’re out, you’re far out.  did about two more of these “T-movements:” to the left, then forward back to the beach. As I got my footing again, I looked to the lifeguard who seemed unconcerned by anything I was doing. She can see better than me.  I felt calmer.

“Perhaps that was just a strong current,” I say out loud and see a family standing near the shore. “There are children in this water.”

But you can have rip tides form without knowing anywhere there are breaking waves. My gut dropped. I also felt something inside of me, underneath the water, some terror. I felt the pull of fingertips upon me. My head began to spin a little. Shivering, I begin to wade back towards the mother with her black curly hair and pink one-piece gripping her young daughter’s hand with her shorter but just as black and curly hair in a pony tail. Their bathing suits match.. They all have a dreadful look. Probably adjusting to the temperature. Her husband was wearing blue swimming trunks and has that typical dad bod; beer gut, mustache, sparse hair on chest and the son looks like my dead brother. Something in my sternum creaks. Old broken bones. Suddenly, very taken by my thighs glistening with droplets as I emerge, I keep my head down as I walk past them. I give the boy a glance but nothing more. His whole body is pale where the rest of the family is olive. Something in my heart moves. I hope the girl finds my blueberry. Or the fish that found my blueberry.

My seat is still there and covered with sand and I’m surprised it didn’t blow away. All that is weighing on it is sand that I had pressed on top of the two metal bottom bars and a prayer. My red and green Christmas bag too. My hands are a little shaky for some reason as I reach for my pink towel. I feel dizzy again. Plopping down without drying, giving up on it, pebbles stick to the back of my thighs.

“Ugh.”

I look down. I can’t get my breath.

“Ugh.”

The water must have kicked up my mild vertigo.

“Deep breaths.”

It helps to speak out loud when these attacks happen, although sometimes it helps to do nothing at all. Sometimes I sit clenched and don’t speak and barely breathe and my legs just fall off. I felt like I couldn’t move again. Like I couldn’t stand. Breathe. The wind kicked u.  Sand got in my eye and I had to close it. Breathe. Then my face was hit. Ugh. Then I opened my eyes and there it was. The way you see things matters. The way you see them move. Right before something hits, your brain flashes: Oh. And it’s not like they say, I didn’t see my past. Well, I did but I didn’t see my past in this life so much as all the other lives coming together, coalescing into a nice tight and bitter coffin. The mordant taste of betrayal and several and today on my tongue: sandy and caustic. The knowing. The way I saw it first. The way under water I even thought, this isn’t it but it could have been. I’m a strong swimmer. The warning. The current, the warning. The dizziness, the warning. The way I read this article about something similar earlier. The way I rode over the bridge. The way I stopped in front of the sign. The way the umbrella flew towards me and some people think attracting luck means that the umbrella will blow past you but once the pointy end hit my chest, I knew it was something else.

 Once my throat let out that air, that final air, I saw the first life of the hooded black women.  Once my neck lobbed backwards and I now longer cared about the sand on my tongue,  I saw myself walking across a lake of ice.  As my tongue fell out, I could feel my body press into the bottom of the chair; once inexplicably sturdy, now tilting to the left. Once my lids closed and everything  stopped, I knew that luck meant you’re hit, and  you’re the legacy now. 

 

“The woman who went to the beach”

you? you will know me by
the devil etched squarely on
my thigh and my ascetic
right arm, twitching
for something to grab,
my left nail picking
at the scripture
In God We Trust,
circling a web on
my inner elbow
now red
from the plucking.
my nails are unpainted,
filth-tipped and broken.

my clavicle is jutting,
as are my eyelids,
sharp  and
neck perched, gazing upwards
and down at you,
the long legs beaded with sweat,
tongue lolling,
panting,
you found me exhausted
and

watching it drip
from my lips
like little fits of rave
and fury; my concern
not being water,
or the saliva
leaking to my bottom lip
but posterity,
warning.

I clear my throat again.
excuse me.

you invite me in.

“the women”

I am thinking of culpability
as it relates to
feelings towards me.
I am thinking
you’re thinking
what’s the probability
I still hold grudges and
what’s the likelihood
I save a thing that any
man has given or said to
me, but we also have to examine
formula so you
reverse and see the way

 

I move at night first.
foremost, you have to
ask yourself whether my stasis
is truth or lie, and if all
perpetrators love getting
caught what does that mean for
us? and starting to feel myself
dissolve into the walls,
I become
first so large I cannot be unseen,
and then with a snap of
my fingers, a panel
blending in like camouflage
with the cracks along my walks.
I could not stop myself
from seeking; even in
chill, I could go from one
end of town
to the other.
like a slow exhale.

when the city closed the
streets for the pope,
I walked from Frankford and
Allegheny to 30th and Market,
having also biked it first.
even though we lacked the
snow capped hills,
something about spending an
entire two months
watching for black ice and cars
even at red lights,
hearing them skid,
thrilled like the slipping
over jagged rocks.
and being watched daily
by a nemesis and every man in this
town really made it feel much
more weighted
and at such a shifting
ponderance. there were
glades of icicles
to wade through,
my hamstrings so strong
towards the end of
February, my fingers
like wrinkled rulers
measuring the space
between neighbors,
the circumference of
baseball sized holes in
windows, the sting of
locked knobs,
and

crippled by the straws
I clutched ungloved.

 

“February/February/July”

 

I have three cuts through
the devil on my leg
and a small bruis
to the right of it,
a large bruise on
my left thigh and
when we met,
you had a large mark on your
right arm that looked
like someone had grabbed you
and I don’t know where
I got it.

you are careful.
I am unsure what to say.
I don’t either.
I gesture to myself,
I mean to mine.

I begin to tell her a dream.
he begins to tell me a dream.
I am in the middle of a forest
and she is in front a fire
and all she says is
wait, be careful
what you say
and holds her hands up.
she kind of walks towards me.
she is young but
but like also like her child.
like she is her daughter.
she is walking up,
she is wearing a long white
pj gown and has long hair,
hands out saying
be careful what you say.
and then I just wake up.

and then wake him up.

“datura moon” or “the story of us”

 

“We have, I think, great terror of pain, and consequent resistance to what it can teach.”

–Louise Gluck

freedom is a cage
of smudged windows,
or it is a knot
in my stomach,
wriggling.


I dream of white frogs
at night in pools
covered in tea lights
and women swimming ahead
to cavern and I
feel caterpillars
washed in symbol,
incubated, sliding through
my gut, inching
their way from corporeal
packages when the day is
warm and facing them,
unbridled.
when the wind is favorable

my unimpeded exodus
through speech
prevails;
from chrysalis to
window, cracking
pane and tracing spit
like slug on glass
to mark the gust
that carries.
from gut to
chest to
windpipe:
carved.  how screams are
rushed when pushed,
or just when they finally
meet the Earth
as voluble flutter
that maims itself
to form.



“Arachne”

I took myself
to the welfare office,
not even getting lost as
I’m prone to do.
          why can’t you just figure it out?
I live right down the street.
it took fifteen minutes.
my shorts are stuck to my thighs,
and my neck is drenched.
I wipe my forehead with my hand
to her disgust.
“It’s unseasonably warm for June”
I begin and elucidate the drawl,
smile to beg for my Access card back
but here comes the recalcitrance;
she asks me for something
I don’t have and I
smacked my lips the wrong way
so I snacked on my servility
inch by inch as I
inched my way
back to our place.

months later,
I lose a diamond necklace there.
there is nothing more satisfying
than losing things or
shaving my head or
throwing away the clunky pepper
spray that women wraithed into chains
and hung from their hips
as if fear and trepidation
and weaponry have
ever kept me safe.
someone told me failure is perspective
but all I see are cops
pinching women with latex gloves
and all the little shrubs
that line the block look like
workers shaking their heads at me
      leave
or,

get on with then.
I am  throwing coffee grounds
into a leaky cardboard box,
our first CD is scratched  and
on top.
I’m on a bed that lifts
with one giant sigh
and no top sheet and
no frame.
they said risk meant courage
and I say you fucking
left me here
into your voicemail.

I’m eating sprinkles with a spoon
in a freshly inherited
two story townhouse.
It’s the sixth of June
so I got weeks.

“grace”

remember how you ranked
yourself: not top
but low and lowly,
seething. beguiling
with your rueful moan
repeating
your endless epoch of dystopian
psychosis that started the minute
someone said hello
you swear; this
tale you would
tell them as you were tied
down or arrested, and
habits don’t change just
because we do.
there is an insidious nature
to mechanism. it has worked,
it simply cannot fail,
that’s what you told yourself
(I want the daydream gone)
and 


remember how cold
February can be?
you in a staid state
of assessment that lacks
any empathy; you’re
in nine places if you’re any less
than three and recalcitrant,
turned inward so you
bark at the shades,
slice at the lines of your
hands when dusk hits.
mistake things for sirens,
police yourself scourging,
marks on your legs, your
forearms.

but when you sink,
you can feel the tongues of
nearby dogs,
your fingers half
in fur before your mind
has even greeted the owner,
feel the pup’s skin
and smile; broken
by the thing.
you were just  contemplating
the ways in which
water-boarding is
so necessary if you
actually have to force someone
to purge and
you can imagine places you could
use to get there having
felt so close to there before
and then
standing and
smiling to the man–
big and broad and sunny,
like you’ve never
thought a thing.

just rocking there,
picking daisies
in a raincoat.
It’s May and
you’re alone. 

“February/February/May”

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