Wednesday, April 15


Where is the worry? Is it in the second-day stubble of my shaved legs? Or is it in the swell of my breath, pooled in my lungs like the tide and pushed out with a sob? The things I never noticed until your absence from my body? I do not know. Today is grey, the kind of grey I love. It is about to rain.

I have slept too long, wrapped in blankets and piled with cats, purring somnolent on my chest and hip. They reach out to each other in their sleep the way I imagine reaching out to you.

I will not dress today. I will write or I will smoke on the porch in a nightgown. I will drink cafe au lait with almond extract, and I will eat dreams.

The cats do not miss me. They have curled down in the warm puddle of blanket I have left and they are sleeping again.

I cannot focus on any one thing, your hair swept to the side and ending in a wave, my beloved ocean in shades of wheat and gold. Your eyes, blue and green, cobalt universes. Your lips and wry smile, the defense against any endearments I might muster in an array of hope, pleading.

I tell you I love you and I cannot see if it sinks in to the hilt. If it touches you at all. At all.

I light candles against the day. I wake at night and breathe the damp darkness I have been dreaming. I hear music, I want to sing, but the words are no longer there. Salt on my tongue washed away with too-sweet coffee and heavy smoke. I cannot see myself without you, and I try.

I live. I breathe. I exist. But your context is missing, your definition and style. I can touch and be touched and I will enjoy it, I will arch against another, and another, and however many others, and whisper in other languages the words they need to hear. The words I need to say. What meaning does it have, when I am not beside you?

Here is a game I have been playing: Who is the secret center of this dance? I reach out and manipulate because it pleases me to do so, in the moment. Because it fills my emptiness. Because I cannot touch you, because I cannot see my love sink into you, to the hilt. I wish I could be ashamed of my cruelty. I have nothing left, not even a conscience. You have all the best parts of me, still.

All that is left to me is sin.

Wednesday, April 8


You are a shrine to dangerous things, he says, while I press
my nails into his neck. And I am. I breathe smoke into the
night sky and wait for the clouds to roll in.

Kali, dancing, pauses between steps, and I run, heart aching
through lightning strikes and coming down hard on every
roll of thunder. Singing bowls chime the dawn of my day.

Tear it apart, he pleads. Crack it open and pull out the shreds
and shards of every evening spent beneath your feet. Tease out 
the splinters and do not worry, do not mind the ragged breaths.

I will do as I please. I will dance, singing, while I belt on bones
and crown myself with lilies and ashes. Howl hymns to me, taste
chicory and burnt sugar on your tongue and bow down.

I am lovely in this light, a dangerous thing you have discovered,
a monster and a lake, a god and a sea in which you may drown.
Dive, drink deep. Be afraid.

For I am a shrine, sacred to those who creep into my arms, to the tears
and exhaustion of love. Hallowed by sound and sharp scent and the burn
of needled flesh. I am a temple and a wave.

I will draw you in and be damned.

Saturday, April 4


the key grinds in the lock, the tumblers turn
and I am mute with need, my shaking hands filled with 
cast-off shards of iron and agate, glass sticking into skin,
blood welling from the edges and you sink deep. somewhere,
I left my resistance out to dry.

I will pull my ribcage apart and let you eat, replace my red-running
muscle with silver wires, that wretched heart with a canary
stained with iodine, leave me packed stiff with gauze 
and settling in for the winter, racked with longing

and marveling at the chill.
it's supposed to be spring and still I run through gasping cold,
ash-brown trunks blushing green, maple buds burning 
against the sky like the embers of every lonely cigarette
that has flared between my lips at night. at dawn. at civil twilight.

you have coiled between my thighs to hold the ashtray and 
even wordless, my hollows and edges limned electric,
there is no difference between the summoning
and the invitation.

Friday, April 3


It is after three. I can hear a drip from somewhere in the house, some faucet reminding me to sleep. I have turned on the music to hide it, but the beat shaking in my bones taps the same rhythm. My skull is a kettle heated to boiling and you are sleeping, responsibly, in your narrow bed so far from mine.

The storm has passed and the rain has slowed. I am waiting on a package. There is nothing at the door no matter how many times I check, not since I discovered the slip to be signed yesterday morning. I want the books inside, but I want the shoes more. Impossible shoes, lacing tight over the arch and nosebleed-heels stretching my calves to screaming. Fuck-me pumps. Fuck-you boots. Somewhere in between, the reality of life in a strange new place.

I have never been good at making friends, only finding lovers. I can only take pictures of my back, painted in Victorian wallpaper patterns. I bend at the waist and stretch imaginary muscles, pull my hair down to cover the emptiness and wear the sorts of dresses that only emphasize my utter lack of humanity. I am not beautiful, no matter what you say, no matter the wisps of thought that escape my mouth on a misty night, no matter the wideness and calm of my eyes. The vulnerable look on my face, they will tell you, is only a trap for the unwary. There can be no true feeling from someone like me.

No. The feelings I have had! They burned me hollow, they were coals scooped from different hearths and set in my skin to char. Piece by piece, how I craved the burn, the ash, the fall. Corded and caught. I have been touched by no one since. Dancing in the forest, dancing in the sea. I dance because of--or is it despite--my lack of an audience, and I will dance for you, if you are unlucky enough to be caught in my gaze. I have so many names, pet names, endearments breathed in my ear at climax, epithets, each a choked whisper bubbling from the throat of a dying man, in all the languages of the world. But I am not a threat, I am nothing, nothing, not even the wind in your face as you run.

Only a woodwife, stained dark and hollow and waiting to fill with someone else's need.

Wednesday, April 1

little brass key

I have a steel wire wrapped around my skull, silver flush with the bone in a spiral shape. There is a keyhole just below my occipital ridge, enameled in green, lined with brass and surrounded with copper filigree. I have grown my hair to hide this vulnerable place, the fontanel of my desires still fluttering and gasping for breath. I have hidden more than this from you.

You are a clockwork creature, and I have wound the brass key in your back for years upon years, springs coiling ever tighter inside your bones, and I hesitate to wind you when you creak and groan beside me, but I cannot stop. If your springs snap, perhaps I will finally be able to take the key and give it into your hands, give you the ability to touch the arbitrary nature of this desire. Perhaps I have always expected you to stick the key into your mouth and coat it in acid, and then use it on me.

Let me break the strands of coiled wire resting in your skin, and I will kneel in front of you, pulling my hair aside. I will bow my head and wait for you press the key into my own lock, to turn it while I bless you for the pain. When you twist the wire of my bones I will open like a flower and sing my pain into you, I will weep and plead and curl into you. I will drown you in the dark waters I have concealed for so many years, and we will rust in the cold and copper-tasting well-water together, whispering pain into each other's bones to replace the metal your acid has leached into my base and basic nature.