People dressed in dark cover the streets, cross back and forth their bodies pinched in the crevices they’ve made. They wear black in winter not because the fabric’s warmer but because their legs are filled with sludge and in their wake an assortment of caramels covered in chocolate their ears tearing at the seams. It wasn’t the right time to celebrate Christmas when no one chose to be awake the skies a blanket too small. On the calendar a howling dog, the colors of paisley and conifers, a baby wrapped in threads and crying. Thirty-one days until they loosen their grips and release the parachutes. It’s a choice to be forgotten or to wear our hair in buns. Someday we will be filled with winds our beds covered in shale let us press our white lips to red walls at midnight.
My monster called, she said I was a whore.
My feet pasted to heels, a skirt
too short to cover my rum, handcuffs dangling
my feathers laid out bare. I offered up a teacup,
she delivered me volcanic rock.
My cadmium turned rouge.
I told her that’s normal.
My nose, a flower, eyes blurry like cottonweed.
This potion will cure, she said. Amongst this other
an umbrella, but nothing more to cease her rain.
She continued to pour, she forced me to drip.
My face the length of a meter. My hair would be longer
if my head were shorter, my body thinner if taller,
shadows blacker with brighter light.
To the walls: I paint my devils on you.
The gesso thick, it was a form of suffocation.
To the doorway: let me pass gently through you.
Side sleeper, coffee drinker,
gate keeper of rage,
dislikes chewing gum, Morton salt, polyester sheets.
Soon to be engaged, disengaged, toes shoved into pointy boots.
She is demarcater of wounds from fissures,
steel-haired, kind of tall, kind of bland, kind of silky,
overly annotated, underwhelmed, bitter to taste.
The cranberries look like cranberries.
The swine tastes like swine.
The lavender will cover the plains.
She will inherit the yawn of the mother,
the sharpened teeth of an aunt, a leg cramp from the father.
She squints at the eclipse
instead of drilling a hole in a painted black box.
She is the other of an other,
the half of some whole, the space in a locket.
Another lover ran off with the spoon.
Stone Cold Holiday
I was hungry for biscuits as white as my belly.
We ate biscuits and let the crumbs fall between us
onto the sheets in bed. His bed,
a mattress on the floor.
In China, beds are stiff as boards.
He said, my dog is in the closet.
I didn’t know you had a dog, I said.
It was a statue made of glass
shattered at the torso.
We filled the room with cigarette smoke,
thicker than comforters filled with goosefeathers.
It covered the windowpanes.
He never finished remodeling his house.
The floors, brown trails.
The paint, a peeled orange.
Your letter was stuck in the mailbox when I found it.
You have red lipstick on, my mother noted,
then walked away laughing to herself.
I didn’t know what else to do in a time of grief
but hide my lips with the color of jam.