sometimes I do ceremony,
sometimes I just let things pass.
we do that for others:
carry our grief quietly,
we bury things deep
within ourselves.

1.

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give it to me, God
can be a risky request.

immured in soft crystal, I felt
on the verge of therapeutically unhinged
all winter.
my hair was combed,
my lips were never chapped,
I wore blush every day and
stockings with no
runs. my tongue was tied
completely
so no one asked
what I may have needed.

chased an impartial sun
half of December
and spent the other half
shrouded,
soaked in flower essences. I preferred
helenite draped in tiger’s eye so I’m more
sudden hot eruption than slow boil
but tonight I try more benevolent blooms
and pausing
and
watch my flimsy, cherry-dipped
ylang ylang fingertips
shake unsteadily
and without any observable provocation,
suddenly stop untying my velvet collar,
suddenly shy away from the mirror,
suddenly lunge and land
on my ball of green sheen obsidian
delicately scraped from the bottom of some
extinct volcano;
still mired in sudden climax,
rinsed and smoothed for my
handling pleasure. now
pressed against my sacral as I spread my arms wide
on the mattress making way for my
own coming crucifixion.
it was
“heart chakra activating.”

for wisdom.
for understanding.
for love, for love, for
soft, soft
l o v e
with protection.
and my heart;
poor, twisted carnivore
always unsure of when the next meal will
come,
can shift her way into a
permanent snarl
“with protection.”
I stomp into the other room and
shatter the glossy carnise bowl
he let me borrow
so I could smoke my way into
crisis.

I leave it broken, shiny
on the kitchen’s peeling
linoleum.
strip my skin of clothes and scent in
a hot steam bath
and let the pieces
rest.
watch my step
around the house
for now.

my place,
one carnelian cobweb,
can’t be swept.

“heart”

Lick the salt from the crest
underneath my elbow
where the flesh is softest
and my nerves are most
on end.
You know I’m antsy,
itching to grow the
space between us large enough
to span states
(it’s all about the wait)
and you
let your lips rest on my arm,
timidly ask me where I
plan to stay.

The polar vortex
has passed:
it’s Saturday
and the sun is out.
I am lying on my side
facing a suitcase
that is only
half packed
nearest the crack in the
window and I feel a
breeze. I hear
a sparrow call me.
I hear
a car pull away and feel
a wet tongue trace
the blue tributary underneath
the skin of my arm
in wonder,
inquisition,
are you planning to
stay?

It’s Saturday
and the sun is out
but winter is just
getting underway.
I am homeless.
I am boundless.
show me your bondage.
I am possessed by
love again.

“Saturday,
and the sun is
out.”

It was the second polar vortex in four years to hit Philadelphia this hard. Pounds of algid air stood packed behind her so she felt immediately boxed every step forward. There was no escaping the weight of this winter. The air was heavy and devastating and the winds picked up every few seconds. Her eyes were brimming with tears that wouldn’t leave the bottom of her lids. Between the tiny wave that wouldn’t break trapped in her eyelids and the blanket of white she had to cut with her forearms to get through, she could barely make out what was in front of her. Each cheek was red and beaten by the tiny chunks of ice slapping her, like clockwork, every ten seconds at least. The ground was just a giant ice patch covered by white fluff. It had been snowing for days on and off. Living here for years, Camelia knew, each snow wreaked havoc on the concrete. When this thawed and dried out, there would be giant craters in every road, the gravity of the storm will crack the pavement in the shape of a golf course making it nearly impossible to drive. That’s not even accounting for the militia and blockades headed this way; for the difficulty passing on foot or road, for the town arming themselves to the teeth; for the long awaited eruption by everyone trapped inside. Either way you sliced it, whether natural disaster or man-made war, Philadelphia was devolving first and settling in her resilience ready to burst from her squalor cocoon to grow into something else; something big with jaws and starving. Something dying to get out. These storms were the first test of her steadfastness.

Camelia’s eyelashes were coated in tiny snowflakes and she could hardly make out the building in front of her. She had been drawn to a light in the window. From the original distance, when she left her car, it looked abandoned. As she stepped closer, she could see there were candles, maybe a soft lamp, burning in the upstairs window. Everything else was dusky; an ashen gray, a midnight lake. There was no sense of welcome here. Let it be a party. Let it be jovial and light. Her car was still somewhere behind her, stuck. Trudging in baby heels, her bare arms nearly frozen, Camelia was also quietly erupting, becoming something else too. She reached for her neck instinctively to hold the sapphire locket that contained him. She was almost frozen. The prick of the cold metal didn’t even bother her. The heart-shaped amulet was her only comfort. Only about thirty feet from the door, Camelia was struck with a sense of panic. God, give me strength. She paused at the edge of the yard and allowed herself to breathe. She crushed the straw in her right hand. What do I look like to them? She must have been blue as her dress. She must have looked like a corpse. She must have looked terrified. Give me warmth.

Continuing to accept the dust of the frozen rain smacking her cheeks and her ankles twisting uncomfortably with each forward step, she allowed her body to be frozen in motion as she drifted up the short driveway and headed to the door. How did I even get from here to there? She turned around. All white and black air and miles of storm to come– no sign of her car. Her bell shaped gown became a shadow on the front step and she lifted her right hand, still clutching straw as her left hand was still clutching blue heart around her neck, to the top of the door. She thought she heard someone laugh inside.

God, give me grace.

She began knocking loudly.

what is linear order?

you ask me to tell it in
linear order.
I am here,
I have survived
time and aged
in linear order.
my proof in
endless strength:
my robust veins growing
more lush for it;
for a flood,
but is maintaining a sense of
dam and containment
even in my most berating
fits of temper, of panic,
I manage to remain
the carnise river contained
in little tributaries to
the turning of the world
in linear order.
you and I are from
the same linear order.
I am now caked in blood
and dead and ghost
as I am blinking
wet, jet-black
eyelashes,
frosted near the bank;
shivering, alive.
has anyone ever told you
there is no time?
I am the ending
and the way I tell it
is the proof
that I survive.
the way I realized things
unfolding though;
in chaos,
in grief,
in backwards
post processing and
reflection
is the magic of truth
in revival.

you demand cogency?
I am walking
linear order.
the way I tell it is
the way I watched it
unfold in real
life.
in real time.
in the end,
my gown will be doused
in the close shouts of
someone you love.
I will be draped in
the slow and constant drip
of her;
the residue of
skinned bones rouging
my cheeks with their sudden
red cries that blossom into
spells I weave into crown;
rest on my head
like a prize
as I am
laid against
my slain and coffined
in confession before I
rise again.
but you should know,
so I’m writing it.

you should know,
you chose to bare
witness: the truth
as it happens, and the
past as it really
was.
and me, risen;
growing full of
hell with each
moon.

“prologue”

I’m a panther
wearing the sky at night
and it’s a slow stalk I
perform.
when I am resting
you see nothing.
when I am present
the first thing you notice
enter your floor:
green eyes like
gold hovering in front of
your nose and a black velvet
paw lazily trails its way
to your headboard
to rest her swords right next
to yours
without hunger.

but in the sun

I’m thirsty,
let me be a rose about it:
dew sprung,
rained on in
blood red gown,
opening.
something always
noticed; something
often picked
even full of
thorns.

“equinox”