You measure out everything that circles. Like pills without the aftertaste side-effects medical coverage. You decide you have practiced long enough. You decide your local news feed could benefit from something like this. You decide not to swallow yet. Instead, you hold all these circles on the tip of your tongue, some guerrilla themselves down your throat. You have been searching for the cleanest options, you’ve made too much of a mess these days. You slide the tiniest questions behind your fingernails for them to find. You masturbate one last time using only toes and elbows. You briefly wonder what they will say, how they will pretend they knew you. You trace the expected size of their teardrops on your thighs, look at the oxidized moon one last time and become consumed.
After the divorce, they split everything in half: torso, curdled hazel, garden soil brown, knees, the scars you inherited, the scars you gave her, fourteen moles carefully severed, chapters forty-seven through fifty-two, books (you requested all the endings; she begged for the acknowledgments), the ghost of your uterus, the ghost of her sex drive, that time that time that time she gave you, that time that time that time you never got to, grid paper, the tags they used to tag the buildings they crawled inside, half a song (mostly chorus), cracked voice, swollen cartilage, library card, flint, James Baldwin, pile of uneaten hair, invisibility cloak (barely noticeable). They grew their arms long enough to carry, to carry. Walked six years in different directions. Dropped what they had when they could no longer speak footprints. And then, started over.
With every cut of skin,
a circus of blood–
drops trapezing off veins
juggling moles, sun blisters
elephant trunk disconnected
from its rest– an arm
abandoned bodies may also be called
museums, the kind that are abandoned too
and underneath, dancers dancing death
a glow-in-the-dark complaint letter
The moon is my pepper spray
These mountains, they climb me
I am floating over prairie dogs
I am tangled up in trees.
I swing on the scratches–
red twigs splintering your back.
Two erasure poems
scar your chest.
You sweat glittery, uneven tattoos
mosh-pitting your thighs.
Your eyes, a car door slam
during traffic, hitchhiking off road.
When we kiss, I taste a dungeon
of scars– handcuffed and bleeding
a baptismal cut-up.
And knee pads as footsteps are not enough
And carved out broken bedsprings are not enough
And Woolf and Lorde and Hurston and Baldwin are not enough
And wound shape comparison, whistle sharps are not enough
And spoons burnt from below are not enough
And museums and meditation, not enough
And reoccurring dreams of hostage not enough
And the sex you think you shouldn’t be having, not enough
And cage. And babies. And babies in cages. Not enough.
And the reason your body odors and resistance. Not. Enough.
And hymns. And disbelief. And disbelieving hymns. Not enough.
And liberated spines and discounted lacerations and everything we choke on that cannot be deciphered. Not. Enough.
And incubators and incubating and departments. Depart. Mental. Isms.
After a certain age, you don’t have a figure; you have a body.” —Bobbie Louise Hawkins
All of this is borrowed, isn’t it? This sky with tear-dropped cumulous barely belongs to any of us. What they used to whistle at is now pillowed and pockmarked, and if you look closely enough there is a misspelled slur. What would it look like to archive all of this. Catalogue recently pierced ear, measure diameter of hole still remaining in tongue, separate sod from soil, open up the grave behind heart.
Maybe it is erasure, maybe it has become too queered. All of this, symptoms. Your lassoed hair. The cigarette burn above right knee. The alleyway behind throat. All of the arguments which grime beneath fingernails. The places on your body which could have used stitches. The audiobook of your belly.
You don’t have to figure; all you need to do is body.