A SELF-PORTRAIT IN SIMILES
a girl is a bird / throat berried with blood / wingbones
singed a deep duskdark;
a woman is a wolf, devouring its own entrails.
I am both / I am neither / I am
a disembodied voice in the night,
the suture point where the lunate scrapes against the radius, struggling
to twist southward. / here,
summer never comes —
and spring is a pale phantom, tethering the horizon
as though its mouth is only now learning the art of teething.
a bird is a girl / a wolf is a woman / a god is a ghost —
I am a thing Death-preyed,
a prayer in reverse. / I am absolution / or perhaps absolute / or perhaps
I am, at last, absolved.
TENDERNESS IS A VICE
know your poisons
mother says, / know how arsenic best laces the tongue,
the exact proportions of psychotropic components
found in one kiss;
know how the body destroys itself for love, / know
your venoms also —
my thistle, a woman is a murder in progress. remember
your blood. remember how to slick it off of your teeth:
no bone, no ash, no evidence;
no marrow left.
mother, you needn’t teach a snake the art of molting;
I was always the serpent / suckling at my own wrist.
I have summered with frogs;
the deceit of skin is known to my fingers. I forgo all
warning coloration — I become as the moon: a pale
halo is all that belies danger,
the raging of a seadeep storm. / Death has breathed
his tenebrae into the innermost parts of me; my soul
and heart are overfull of them, Achos-akinned.
mother, I am no mere carnage;
I am Armageddon.