Muzzled by your Prozac breath, my 18th birthday was your mercy killing. My innocence, a sacrificial deer. My hide draping your hands to keep your guilt warm.
You unbuttoned my coat. You uncaged fear. He protects me the way you said no man could. He paces around me like a vulture around blood. He holds my hand in public. He promises never to leave. I believe him.
My clothes lay in a puddle in the back of your Buick.
My chin pressed to the pink smell fingered deep between your seat cracks.
An axe on the dash.
A rough-cut hole in my black ice.
Foggy windows wet with chiseled glints of my skin.
Deep underwater, holding my breath, I watched you fuck the coat of a dead doll.
When you peeled the enamel off of me, I felt a tiny cathedral slip from my chest, its bells tolling faster as it disappeared.
My stem has grown crooked ever since.
Every sun who has eased my petals to his face has gone to bed filled with briars.
Every son who dove into my wounds found no pearls, and left with hands full of salt and sand.
Rape is from my mother’s side of the family. He drives a tugboat on the Atlantic coast. I can no longer hear my roar in the sea, I only see myself in its spit, the scum on the open mouth of storm waves.
Rape is the one syllable spoken so loud it caused a landslide. It burns down your alters, it buries your flame.
Amazing wreckage, how sweet the sound.
i. electric lights are liars. propagandists for a nuclear sun that never burns skin and is never defeated by rain. misleading me to believe that darkness can be censored, but you swallowed every bulb on your way out.
ii. cold circles me like a vulture, smelling blood. cold holds my hands, pins snow to my coat like a diamond broach. cold promises never to leave. i believe him.
iii. i resent everything i am forced to memorize. even you.
The sun turns her face to the day like a pirouetting ballerina. Night is milky as the back of her neck. I am the hunchback beside her, panning for the past as if its worth its weight in gold. I am the contortionist, cramped into the shape of too many yesterdays. Our shadows introduced themselves to the tune of my saddest record. I hear it over again in the clatter of rain. Mining puddles of the sky, waist-deep in the web of mirage, I have always bartered for love with fools gold.
Your mouth inside of mine, like thunder inside of rain. Our spirits ascended into the storm, snapping upward suddenly like eyes in the middle of the night, like eggs hatching. We are orbiting the trees, our bodies like dead stars with souls still giving off light. We are fevers breaking. Father is in my temple, Father is a stag drinking from the shore, Father is the sun and moon, I can see him fishing in your eyes. A loom in the listening sky, weaving us together like a lucid dream. Clouds fall like painted plates, our introduction symphony.
It’s not that I’m attracted to sadness. It’s that I fall in love with the few men who can stay still and feel it.
An old hilltop named Victory. Shaped like the spine of an open book that holds both the hero’s birth and his death. I lay on the top, in between the two, stiffly spread and cold like heresy. Constellations so bright, they wet my eyes. Prisms flicker down. Falling stars call me sister; motion at me to slip off this cliff; tear a hole in the sky, climb into it where I can burrow with them. I open my hands, consenting without moving, Light fingers my skin like hieroglyphics, uncovers me.The void inside slips out of its wrapping paper. Glides over the shape of my body like a shallow lake. I lay, magnetic darkness, and the sky takes notice. Tosses down wind like roses, wreathing me like a breakable offering. The void above is seduced by the void beneath, and slowly bends down. We are mouth to mouth. Bloodless ritual, with a couple of planets as empathetic witnesses. I am sure that the sun can see me, using the moon as a magnifying glass. This is as close as we come to fidelity.
Earlier today, I read your horoscope, telling me “Pisces can be found close to the earth; out-of-doors.” I walked into a day so deathly pale, I had to press my ear to the dirt for a heartbeat. Stale wind sat on the curb, refusing to stir the silence. Hope boiled over with the sound of “too late, too late!” You are all of the land that scrawny bastard words can procreate.
Night has fully undressed me now, cooling the abscess of neglect. I always thought I was alone without you, but constellations send their needling lights down, and it’s not long before absolute darkness connects with me too.