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.
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,