I’m haunted in several kinds of
cadence and burdened
with unmanageable lust.
I’m replaying the way
you never said my
name, the way I keep my nails
short in case I turn on myself
when I’m turning myself
on.     The way I begged
to hear a magpie at my window
some mornings,
the way I long for it still.
The way in which I elongated
the word u           s   

so it looked bigger on paper.
I let it last
a whole year;
grow leaves, grow fingers
dotted emerald green with pink flowers
and then sorrel and bare,
baring its brown
bones to the birds
who perch in earnest search
of shelter so they can call on
one another in fight,
famine, or flood.
I watched us
drift to the floor
in detritus,
becoming
a new organism that grew roots,
that craved sun,
that lapped water and pollen and
seasons.
Letting it fall
in frost.
Letting it crown
despite us.

Kiss me in the light of
these new found
bedevilments,
I lick the mirror
with feeling.
It is December and I am
already freezing.
I am relying on roots
for nourishment.
I am hibernating,
and emptying.
All year, I am sturdy and foreboding
like a honey locust
dripping thorns down her spine,
dropping leaves all down your walk
so you will always be reminded of the
pine that encircled you when you first heard
my forest chorus:
the long form u     s.
Look at me again and
again and
again:  I am leaving.

I am becoming paper.
I am becoming waste.
I am becoming the spines of books,
archaic adjectives
that you chase to replace your
chilled silence with a word
that offers anything but
a returned question mark.
You thought that all devils
wore black and sauntered
and spoke coolly with promise,
but I am the devil
who wears anything
the world will offer,
including white,
and offers some
warm reprieve
like a velvet-lined casket
floating over the open
sea.
I am listening to you.
I am wide open
and encasing.
It was never us
you came here
chasing, admit
what you are
drawn to.
It is waiting.


“death”

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