of water turning to blood
the pink tornados in the porcelain,
reminds me of time. hourglass
sand pouring out of me. the blush,
dusty rose. perpetual empty, the slow
pendulum swing of fear when the water
stays clear to fear when it doesn’t.
of squelch of wet smack of deep gut throat
of expand retract release of slipslide on mother’s
kitchen tile of pink tongue on prickle of bent knees
and mud shadow of mother’s wet dirt panic
at the escape from a plastic container. mother
places it in the garden even as I begged her
to just let me keep it
those days, the old me, her one hand raised on the porch
at dusk to let them rise, search the highest point. old wives tale.
maybe. fill cups of vinegar and wine and let them drown.
the smallest vices always the demise, one more pill, whiskey
slosh, ignored call, one more one more one. photograph
of this smiling other-me’s other hand holding a cigarette
in the sad small way she thinks is sophisticated. dimming porch
light shining through the frizz and bug halo, crown of annoyance.
saint of something else.
buzzing in the fluorescent light of the bar’s
bathroom as I stumble hazy in. relief is dark
scarlett. the flies swarm to it. they always know
what is dead. (I will not write of this as a eulogy
of the pestilence of livestock
what is pestilence if not famine
what is famine if not hunger
what is hunger if not unmet desire
what is unmet desire if not suffering
what is suffering if not human
what is human if not trying to drink
from cupped hands before the water
drips back to the earth
our bodies betray us. skin shiny red poppies
blossoming and wilting again. flesh bursting like august flowers.
when the golf balls of ice hit the windshield
I thought they were lemon slushies, felt
my mouth pucker. it was summer yet the sky
crumbled around us like a grandparent’s house.
the thumps on the ground of dropped ice cones.
the sound of loss melting away into nothing more
than a stain.
just in time for cicada season
my mother says and I wonder
if she wishes she could rewind
seventeen years ago, my stubborn
self still stumbling against her common
sense, short skirts and teen boys
who blacked out. words
are wet dust and now I’m
getting married. listen, my dad
says and there, the underlying buzz,
the air full, static hazy and muscle
memory smack as red eyes fly
by. childhood song; comforting,
eerie. so emotional these days,
those days, trying to count out
the next seventeen years,
if my folks will still be here,
if eggs will be hatching or suffocating
in the dirt.
is there light on the inside of us? does it seep in
through our mouths, ears, nostrils? or is it dark
already, the pink of lungs, liver, womb. living whole
lives without being seen. God said darkness that could
be felt. these cavities of us echoing with it.
our penance. I’m sorry.
of the death of a first born
we always think the first born as having been already birthed.
lives in the world wanting milk or to have shoelaces tied.
babies or teenagers or middle aged men falling to their knees,
disappearing from the table like ghosts like sleep like rapture.
their steak going cold, flies swarming the half-picked plate.
what if the plague is that the first born never arrives at all.