questioning time xoxo
girl sees rainbows in motor oil. no one sees rainbows in the girl.
she is a dilation, a negation, of her anatomy. girl kisses the webbing
between her fingers, pretending to meet the lips of the faceless entity
of female. girl wields a two-pronged caduceus, walking the tightrope
of identity. she clips her nails too short and relishes in the striking brine
of it all. the metamorphosing heart of this girl reverberates, molten, in
her chest in the presence of men. the crease of her lips softens, folding
upward, dragging lip tint into her cheeks in the presence of women. girl
fluctuates. girl hydrates, sucking on paper straws like ambrosia, swooning
when she sees the girl working the drive-thru. girl doesn’t know if she is
jealous or smitten. she sketches a charcoal drawing of herself as atlas, holding
up the sky as iris takes her sweet time deciding whether to prism. girl is
weak against a slab of stone, but strong enough to keep going. a titan, yet
lol haha what is this :0
we all speak in memory, in heartstrings plucked like
lyres & tongues cocked sour, like root canals. we all
test the temperature of our blood on the inside of
our wrists before bottle-feeding our young. we all
imagine our bodies a theater, our joints clicking
in overture. &, like a sunday matinee, we all
lash ourselves to a curtain call, all breathing until
we aren't. the wave returns to the sea, & we all
fancy ourselves surfers, sand bruising our lips.
beautiful, as a verb
my eyelids scrape down your forearms pooling with jasmine perfume against your wrists, in a burning gaze. tangible. you first kissed me when the snow ran red, like blood, or like the ground was blushing through its permafrost at my glee, at your palm against my hammering chest. i had pulled away first, soaking your hair with a handful of tar-streaked slush as you squealed. it was as if the thawing road shied away from our soaked high tops, licking at the opposite snowbank. my first kiss. it was nothing short of perfect. that was . . . your voice, curled up at the end like a boot crunching leaves, told me everything. i kissed you again, on the cheek.
the next time was in the lake that spring, our parents talking, sipping cocktails, as we jumped off the dock at your lakehouse again and again. your swimsuit hugged your hips, rivulets of water skating down your legs. you giggled nervously as my eyes landed on your grimy feet. —the weeds coat the rocks. algae. wanna try to touch the bottom?— and we leapt into the freezing water, gripping each other’s thighs with icebound fingers, oversaturated lips meeting with a sigh. you inhaled sharply and swam up to the surface, coughing. you burst into laughter, i remember, when i showed you my toes, clenching at the slimy soil i scooped from the seafloor. you grabbed my elbow and pulled me back under.
month after month, your tears of joy and pain water the valleys in the crook of my elbows as i soothe you. my laugh, bubbling and laced with sunbeams, sheds light on the dark parts of you: the negative space between your shoulder blades, your liver, the sadness that sometimes creeps out from behind your corneas. call us symbiotic, but this is not your average science lesson. there are no taxidermied fowl in this museum. your ribcage, a venue. your laugh, a treasure. me, a docent, who walks your halls, in awe day after day.
dripping acid across sutured wounds
losing touch is molten candle wax : the sort of metacarpal pain that diffuses into elbows leeching spinal fluid & eyelashes dissolving into cicada wings dripping down cheeks like an afterthought : tenuous are the breaths exhaled without cause.
—& who proclaims us stillborn before we resign to becoming so—
i am percolating saltwater spat from the mouth of a hyena : twined secrets & psalms into marshy delta reeds : asked the coriolis effect how to breathe once more once more : with an onslaught of hurricane, i’d best wash away.
two tar-coated fingers dragged down
upper west side: see denizens snapping
their gum in traffic lanes, pressed
against parchment + soaking up
charcoal pigments in my inkwell.
a forlorn woman on fifth avenue stamps
her acrylic nail into a wax seal + a boy
with a balloon, an astronaut with a
latex planet twined around his wrist:
he stares at something in the gutter
that piques his interest + mine as well.
i. my ears will grow a second skin like movie film /
spool me into a projector and turn out the lights / watch me,
whisper critiques, judge me / but i cannot hear you
anymore / hammer and anvil went to work mining in my canal /
tease epinephrine into my hair follicles / but watch the backcomb
for my hair will explode in-humidity-in-heat-in-tears /
ii. my sister likes to look for nickels in our airport
security checkpoint / each disk a treasure, each
handful of grimy change a prickle of hope /
i've never liked picking up pennies i found in
the parking lot, ground into the asphalt /
too dirty, too gross / and i guess i don't have
enough of that childhood whimsy to spare on
infested quarters and dimes /
iii. i douse my hip sockets in copper lubricant and watch them
swivel in my jeans / i've never known motion before, i guess /
file me away in monticello / find me tilling soil in the
virginia sun / i've always been a fan of manual labor, but never
in-humidity-in-heat-in-tears / i remember laying in the grass
with earring posts crusted to my lobe / insulting clouds,
praying for rain before we dry up and wither away /
in which i don’t write about myself
it’s odd when i peel back my forehead & let others judge my skull for its porcelain sheen like when i hide tear tracks with daisies & revel the graduation to the front seat of my mother’s maroon hatchback it’s when i peel off half my nail polish & treat the remainder like inkblots & run my tongue against the roof of my mouth looking for answers for plastic pirate treasures that i wish still delighted me are you poking my frontal lobe & judging as it swallows your fingernail? mama said i always had a hungry mind yes she did yes i do do i?
i'll always envy the poets who plunge their fists into their chests & show off their sinews, raw & wet with blood this is a personal narrative shut in a rose-trimmed armoire & these biting idiosyncracies i just can't illustrate: the ones where i realize i'm happy and suddenly i'm not the moments when the holes in my jeans gape & threaten to swallow me the times when you weave your stories into ampersands & i want to do the same . . . & it's those moments when i realize i don't have a story at least, not one worth telling or reading or knowing
there is no golden door, emma lazarus
it is 47 degrees ; overcast & the kind of chill that creeps into your eye sockets & demands to be noticed ; you speak like a true child of the desert & let gila monsters puncture your lips with their claws ; you wonder how you are cold when it has not yet to storm
you've pinched calendar pages into melting rosettes ; & they disintegrate as you float them down the river ; & we all know how it goes : river, delta, ocean, & then where will you be ? drowning against the bleaching coral polyps ? or suffocating against The Abyss ?
/ you hate to not know what swims beneath you /
the back half of election week
on wednesday i birthed a desert rose from beneath my skin
& drizzled candle wax against the sun’s first light
fingers stained rouge; trepidation churning within
on thursday i lined my eyes with mercury’s blood
& danced with neptune under the cover of night
clavicles creaking, i basked in this lawless flood
friday collapsed in the sands of time
& i indulged in her fatal plight
ankles fractured against ocean brine
mirages plucking at eyelids aflame
& we wait for waxen wings aflight
waiting for november to call the name
& for irate rebellion to incite
ghazal to lennon
remember when we sat on orange-peel boats overlooking the emerald sea of green?
when your arms would stitch musings into my waist--grassy thread, skin seamless, green /
& you’d stuff tulle down my unruly throat [be silent, still, as the inky ocean flows],
i taste citrus-- omphaloskepsis; peel the navel oranges, stems, leaves, green
why do you float beyond the kuiper belt & grind saffron into the space behind my ear /
we are but dust-- [swirling / deteriorating] caking onto oxidizing copper [green, green]
& the sun smiled at me as she sunk below the horizon, losing the war to nightfall /
you are clovers steeped in milk, once sweet, once lucky, once green;
now: drowning & you don’t know why, don’t notice the flame in your thighs, don’t notice
don’t care-- & there’s me, bruised, broken, laying against the sea of green