unscheduled and I had been
comfortable in shifting drought.
in my backyard,
calloused toes on grass
walking too far and too hard
in unpadded sandals,
sky blue sundress,
flimsy, strap always falling off the shoulder
so I have to watch the way I carry myself
around men.

hem slipping up my left thigh to expose the
DIY garter you gave me,
not the daisies I wanted,
ring of bruises
fresh with conquest,
lasting impact of
your parting mouth that
said nothing,
just hangs there and
when I shower.


I’m counting
cicada shells
under the picnic table;.
a gesture of presence.
someone told me to stop replaying old voicemails and
I needed a year to pass.
I scrubbed away the last of your fingernail
but I have to
ride those bite marks

I blink to hold back.
a ripple in the sky bursts
and she,
condensed and aimless,
shows just one day’s worth of self-containment,
it’s black and soft and
surfeit with mild violence,

the veins of my feet become
muddy streams
before I even notice the shadow
wash over my bangs.
head drenched,
dark red now because you liked subtlety
and I liked
demonstrating power
and a hint of auburn wasn’t enough to show
blood with just a thornless bush
so I adorn myself:
with ritual,
with cleanses,
with little thorns,
little kills to
draw attention.
my knees hurt and all those cicadas are
dead  so I stand
to lift my face to the thunder.
a small gesture of inflorescence.

open my arms
like petals
of a dry red rose
exhaling in relief
for the drink her master

parched from the work my dry words had done
as they roamed free
all over your front yard.
God makes pacts with penitents
and you barely have a face that isn’t just
my reflection
so I’m itching to be clean.
I stick out my tongue to catch all she had.
bold with my repentance and ready to wash any
phantoms away.
but the gray sky  remembered
she had lightning.


and suddenly elucidated,
I remembered,
I am the dark thing
inside of me.




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