a dream within a dream
open hands measure the swelling of your pulse
in paces, planting apricots at every fourth beat
by the fistful. here, God
is a beryl-egged bird, its claws enrooted
in the thin skin at your elbow. you want
to believe in spring; youth’s folly, the bird says.
March tarries on the road, and temple beacons
are lit alone for absence.
February’s mouth engulfs your aorta —
mercurial vampire! the bird tilts its head
twenty-three degrees to the south; you wonder
about celestial motion, if Mars was ever as glad
to lose its iron deposits;
you wonder why everything must always
be occluded through fugitive symbols —
you wonder about love.
o my blood
I rise at dawn;
with dew I wash the moon off of my face.
I walk out into the courtyard,
bearing no torches.
o my blood, how sweetly you sing out to me,
hidden as you are in the low barren branches;
and I am then as a madwoman,
seeking the sharp of your wings, lips singed
to sweeten our scarlet nectar —
o my blood,
rise from the mulberry.
there is no feed for you in the stain of its heart;
no feed in the supple wood, either.
o my blood,
only our dark may sate such volucrine hunger;
only this wheat that I've wintered in the deep
of my slumbering bones.
o my blood,
you will only ever be contented
within your own veins.
on desires nuciferous
let’s rise out of the morass, you and I;
like a lily unfurled,
like tears gathered in the dip of our Holy Mother’s wrist.
let’s shake the mud from where time has soiled us —
and barefoot rejoice with a gladdened heart, freed at last
from mortal fallings.
let us drink wine from holy skins, from holy chalices —
Sava’s severed throat in lieu of barrel,
feeding us aged pale,
myrrhed sacraments. o darkling — tell me, can you see?
the damselflies in pilgrimage, how heaven simmers under
the gossamer of their thin wings; ladybirds, their jeweled
bodies alighting on our cheeks like blood.
our flesh is an Eden,
of this I am sure; we ought to rise and clothe the world,
entomb it gently in our shadow —
carpet the world with joyous song,
peal it with the laughter
of two forgotten birds in love.
in a dream,
I am made herder over wolves;
the old saints arm me with locust-flute,
tell me to sing seraphic, seam
their mooned wounds.
ever the land’s dutiful daughter, I oblige;
and my brothers howl from the earth —
the mountains darken
with the rush of their sullied pelts, blood
clotted with grass in aeon-old wounds. o;
forgive us, sister, they
howl, forgive our most ancestral sin. we
could not save the gods, the temples, nor
I clean and sew their flesh, cut
away at the fur. the flute lies cast aside;
it is with throat alone I sing,
o brothers, I your sister
am proof that in sinew
all is absolved.
the self as a desert
I am pale with dawn —
my arms are leaden with larksong,
my heart is heavy with the fire
of long-gone, dear stars.
o, how kind is their rain upon me;
how tender their myriad tongues —
lover, I have not known
in aeons such soft death: it lowers
over me as chiffon, as a song
of quiet breath; it sinks
and parts my seams, peeling clean
the sins that skin my soul in white;
I am undone, apocalyps’d.
of me remains now only warmth:
have I been cursed, I wonder,
or have I been beatified?
of death and his maiden
bird wings / his hands splayed open on your trachea / in a gesture of prayer / the butterfly of your
breath catches on the curve / of his lunate, seeps / through his wrists like blood / a tender melt of
moonlight / the pale honey of you rivers his radius to his ulna /
and he lowers his eyes, an animal tamed / it is ghastly, this love / strung entirely of guts and sinew / it is
holy, this love / comprised of the only carnality Heaven has afforded its phantoms / you press your lips
to the burn / of his eyelids, sing / spring into his fevering skin /
and he thanks you the only way he knows how / body seaming to body / dark heart suturing to a dark
soul / mouths were made for worship, you hear yourself say / what were hands made for, then? he asks,
lips plucking / the ripening laughter off of your tongue /
to harmonize original sin / such sublime sounds a careful touch / can cut from skin / he surrenders
himself to your teeth / lays his viscera bare before their pearl / love is consumption, you hear yourself
say / and he accepts your devouring benedictions /
LIANNA SCHREIBER: IN CONVERSATION
If for many art is a means of self-discovery, for me it is a means of coming home. Not “Have you seen me?” posters, mind you, but rather: “I have seen you.”
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IN THIS ISSUE
Author: Lianna Schreiber
Editor: Lydia S.
Graphic Design: Shompole, N.L.