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Sonya Vatomsky

Hazel and Honeysuckle

I meant it as an antidote but fumbled the dosage

with my tea-leaf tongue, my moods swung seasick.

The sun set red on my mouth through the porthole,

a thirty-day hyper-correction – no, not black, no,

not grey. Nor that not-quite-dead flesh-tone, my

shit-eating grin. My padlock flushed poppy-mouth,

Snow-White’s-apple mouth, kinda mouth to make yours

move and make me sleep when I had been feeling

so good – had meant blood-mouth, meant meat-mouth.

Meant a soup of my bones, undeniable essence: hot,

boiling reveal. Meant pour over, climb under, meant

a skin-stripping rain-mouth. Meant reign. Like intent,

like with teeth, like fey glamour glimpsed through

heart-beating curtains, there, say it: I frighten.

Look – the deed for this attic, look – my own long

name on it. I’m not that kind of madwoman,

if you know what I mean.

Every time I hiccup I miss you with a knife

Is it folklore when I pull dill from my garden, use a wooden

spoon to stir a stew you've never heard of? How many

ladles till I'm a woman, a domestic love poem, lipstick on

its rim like some kind of overlapping tree ring: thick black

for the year it did nothing but rain, purple for the tomato

crops eaten by squirrels, red the night smoke stung your

eyes and I am so feminine, they were convinced. Clouds

drag moisture from me as I sleep, cycle it through air as

ulnar nerves ache and pinkies grow numb on the keyboard

and the Last Supper was not about food so what am I?

Vine-ripened tomatoes, outside somewhere. I was going to

graduate university, go back to Europe and jump in a lake,

like jump in a lake permanently, like drown. Instead I got

engaged, another kind of dying. In Lakeland there is no

future tense, one pronoun for people. My tongue doesn't

dry up, my insides and outsides align and I am this but ten

years faster. Someone serves me baked mushrooms on

white fish; the pan old tinfoil. Who flies and who tethers? I

almost jump but everyone else has gone, left me the string.

I hold it for a few years. I am good at holding, until I'm not.

We meet on rain-slicked streets and my veins run red with

wine, vibrate. I mistake the buzz for flying. Your open mouth

a room I run into, take my shoes off, leave blue hair in the

drain. We always eat and never cook, science fiction an

inevitable future, the past a wives’ tale, the present a direct

address to a relationship in my life other than mind-reader.

I am so feminine, with my thirty lipsticks and bag of bones in

the freezer; I have poisoned the protagonist with my rustic

Chekhov's Gun. Listen – sirens sing out anxious EBM then

pass our block. In another story you would wake in the dark,

sweating.