purgatory bingo in the waiting room we talk about super bowls & rice makers. uncle jo is there eating a twinkie. then, the fine china is on the floor & no one seems to know what is coming next. there are bells on the walls. old ladies & a girl i sat next to in seventh grade science class. she's popping pink gum. there are teeth in my pocket. i keep it to myself. maybe there is a list with names. maybe there is another room full of light & free toothpaste. i count none of my boyfriends & all of my girlfriends here. an empty water cooler. a television & all i can think is "soon. so soon."
stamp booklet in the little stamp square i see a carrier pigeon who has a letter in his mouth for me. the mail person at the post office window explains this is the "extinct animal series." all the stamps today are macabre. the last booklet he showed me was of gravestones & the one before that, pictures of famous killers. the killers wink when you shifted the letter in the light. i guess no one has time anymore for letters anyway. i mostly look in my mailbox for god. i settle on the animals in the hopes this pigeon letter is something good. in my car, i ask to see it & the bird swallows it whole.
canopic jars i pluck my organs like apples. might as well get a start on sorting this viscera. i give you the head of anubis & say, "let's begin." you do not want to be a priest as no one in their right mind wants to be a priest. once i found a jar like this burried in the woods. it had a beating heart inside. i re-burried it but i still think about it every day. was it yours? mine? i want to do the same with myself. scatter body like squirrels sew nuts. for later. a liver beneath a horus head beneath the willow trees. everywhere is a tomb or else, an afterlife, if you are ready.
copper where were you when the universe told her green? i was shopping online. rings i bought you that gave use halos. radium on the ceiling like a balloon child. we jumped electric rope. shaved our heads. lived whole lives as bowling balls. i wound the sound of baseball bats around your finger. let's not forget the veins of the house or the trumpets that fell into the cellar while we were busy kissing. pennies in their bunkbeds getting ready to be unused. i told you "i wish it was gold." string rays fly over head.
needle point i sat in the rocking chair & became an anchoress. cut threads like veins. the moon was a wooden hoop pulled taut with clothe. what i am trying to say is i need a plot of land to sew violets. i need a window large enough to shatter when i throw a rock. i work all night. there is a ghost baby in a basinette. he is studying gender in the hopes he might get one. dipping needle in & out of the skin. the clothe. the clothe skin. there is always an underneath. dolphins beach themselves & turn into women. i never said this was for you. i meant only to keep busy. to stave off the curtains.
wearing black a flock of crows come to live in my house. we play chess. we eat popcorn & watch horror movies. controlled terror is my only comfort these days. did you hear the police have marble eyes they are rolling through the city? i know every stone is speaking the language of the dead. once you start wearing black, you do not want to stop. it's an alleviation. the crows compliment me & ask if i ever considered becoming a contract shadow. just for a night, of course. i say i am staying amateur here. no need for perminance. the crows knit me black sweaters & sew black dresses. soon, we are family in a bright eclipse.
private parts i wear a fig leaf for a face until someone notices. thrive on indecency. i'm all here for public displays of privacy. the telephone booth. the confessional. birds are private today & so are stop signs. has anyone ever told you, you're allowed to keep parts of yourself away from your lovers? i think it is important to culivate mystery. then again, once i saw a church burn down for the sake of privacy. there is nothing left to the imagination in a fire. gone & gone. trust me, i want to just show you, but i can't.
the swan unzips the beautiful out comes a bucket of moths. do you know we are killing the children? do you know no one is female anymore? soon there will be just a great big field of USB drives. i once asked my mother why god is a man & she said "because he creates outwardly." i sit in a garden of thumb tacs. mirror mirror on the wall who is the femmest of them all? the swan is standing with a knife in my bedroom. i'm going to have to face them soon. a round applause for anyone trans wearing a dress. the moths have a plan but i do not.
crooked-ing teeth in my mouth there is a cemetery for beetles. my teeth wear clogs. my teeth ask the worst questions like, "why does the sky taste bitter?" the planet is slowly putting on a wedding dress. we have lost touch with ceremony. my teeth sing all night & i knock on them saying, "keep it down." they cannot help it. they are trying to give a warning. i have watched over the years as they have gotten more & more crooked. first just a twisted ankle. now, armless mannequins. it's too late to be pristine. instead, i smile like a riverbend. the beetles are not dead.
glass 1/2 empty i'm at the point where 1/2 empty is dreaming. i look at glasses & i see clusters of frog eggs. i see their little souls full of legs & i wonder if they will live full & happy lives or if someone will come along & swallow them down. it will not be me. i am too busy feeding cheerios to my imagination, saying, "only a few more years of living like this." the cardboard world asks me all the questions i can't answer like "who?" & "how?" the secret is there will only be one or two frogs. the rest will remain commas. truly though, the glass is not 1/2 empty, it's just empty.
coat hanger party we all came with our favorite regrets. me with a bundle of door knobs & you with the coat you refused to wear even though you looked beautiful in it. it is never really "tomorrow" is it? it's today & today. sometimes at a party like this there will be games. we stand in a circle & try to dream. everyone can hear me thinking but they are too polite to say anything. we all choose a hanger to hold by its feet. i'm told i was never an infant. we drink punch. we tell stories of our children. linger until the moon is put away.
crochet you told me you wanted a beach house so i stayed up all night gathering thread. each of my tongues in their terrarium held a dialog about creation. one asked another, "where does an idea come from?" i am no longer sure there are bad people. the hat i make is for a baby i will not have. it is best to fit all your wanting inside a thimble. i have been prone to hooks crochet & otherwise. it's never enough though. find me keeping buckets of yearning. yes, i know, i will need to pour them out. just one more day.
warning: graphic content your day will have severed. a car plows through the wall of your heart. living room smoke detectors. we carve names in apple tree necks. the bomb shaped like a lemon. on the side walk we find salted snails. shelter in place. a tropical storm named after your ex. she used to stand in the driveway & scream. it was your fault but only in the way all rivers have a mouth. a man with no fingers. slaughterhouse on wheels. i used to ask, "can i open my eyes?" now, i say, "good morning, fire."
licking our lips we spent all night trying to eat the moon's heart. slippery poet & the knife was too dull. i saw in the glow of our freshly dead god that you had a smile of orange to feast on. nectar is another word for glory & joy wears a silver backpack & just keeps walking. all i want is to kneel & indulge. farm animals amble the streets looking for an ancient agrarian society. they fill a bus & go to the field of salt. my mouth waters every time i hear a bell. pavlov knew nothing.
irrational i put my emotions in the microwave. it's time to feel guilty again. i hide all my knives in ziploc bags. eat the ears off an orange. do you hate me? do you hate me now? once, i got the silent treatment & for two weeks i didn't say a word aloud. my tongue sang like a canary in a coal mine. there aren't enough shovels in case it rains dirt. are you listening? every time i breathe a bird dies. no. i know that's where the truth goes to eat canned peas. "i know you're talking about me," i say to the field.
the trees grow eggs & we were so unprepared. it is autumn & when i walk, i try to catch as many as i can. pockets full. hands full. inside each is a dead angel. i do not know what can be done with their bodies. at first, i tried burials but not the soil weeps with eyes. we should be more careful with yearning. if we are not careful it will be the egg tooth in a space suit. here comes gravity. here comes a comet with your name. i can not try to save one more. but, there i am, still running to catch. arriving too late.
chariot you bring me every wheel you can find. the horses have long gone to drink juice boxes. everything is one fire & i no longer want to put it out. i want to win something. we wear laurel crowns & sit criss-cross applesauce on the front lawn of a dictator's house. when we say the code word "gold" we know it's time to bury our hands. nothing to see here. the time will come to race one another for the basket of half-rotten strawberries. i will win & eat them all myself. i have a chariot to keep alive. i can not be sorry.
fertility clinic don't believe every egg you talk to. some might working to become lightbulbs. i used to look in the mirror & see a family portrait. now i see windmills. when i worked at the farm i would kneel & shuck corn until i found one with a baby inside. then, i would take a walk & pretend i saw nothing. inside every bone there is a latent ghost. i am haunted by houses that have yet to become houses. walls turn white when i'm left in them too long. i find an egg on my pillow every night for a year.
cucumber melon do you have a hair tie? do you have any hair? i grew a stomach to salvage the day's bagels. cut my own bangs. what else is an angel-killer to do? raise your hand if you had enough to eat today. brushing granola from my lap. a chipped black nail. i would draw the initials of girls i liked on the palm of my hand & close my fist until the ink melted unrecognizable. shoe squeak on the waxed wood. a fish tank swimming with earrings. are you wearing that to school? full length mirrors. the smell of her jump rope.
pickling the photographs i told you we missed the exit. drove eight more states & then we snapped a shot of us beneath the belly of a giant moose. all of you teeth fell out & we had to follow the trail to the valley of death. i promised if we made it out alive, i would be your daughter. a straw hat. a strawberry field. nothing is forever but especially not family. there is the immediate kissed on the forehead & then there is the mutation process. sometimes i think how many times can i change my gender? i am a flipbook. watch me rubber ball. this is not a picture of us anymore. it's a picture of who we thought we were to each other.
grapevine the wallpaper tells me we were supposed to be women. i wear a dress with a gun holster. we fill the bathtub with red grapes for mashing. i keep saying "girlfriend" & alternating between meanings. lover & almost lover. the rocks in the river know what we came to do. take our hair down. feed planets to the lion until he is ready to sleep for another hundred years. you feed me crystals. rose quartz & obsidian & sapphire. hard candy-hearted. grandmothers come with glow worms to light the collapsing house. i never meant to tell but now look where we are. the world knows.
reconciliation i have been trying to forgive you. god rides in a little red truck. all the horses are melted down for glue. we paste macaroni to make constellations. i used to be so angry. that saturday after i had surgery when we sat on either side of a match box & pretended i wasn't a wound. your smile is kneaded bread. let's not be family anymore. let's be race car drivers or ship makers. neither of us have the knees or genders for becoming priests. i scraped my plate. painted you a portrait of us in all blue. the apple falls & falls. i sleep somewhere else.
skulls in the bird garden the glass blower wears a wooden face. is careful to talk sweetly to the fire so as to not lose his teeth. all day he works making skulls: baby skulls & dead men skulls & possom skulls. lets the heat shape each fabulation. this boy will come to want an apple orchard & this person will always crave a balcony. our wants are this old. yearnings from our makers & all the garden birds who whisper in the oldest langauge. he holds each skull before setting them on a mossy stone to be taken & put to use.
mother-daughter dresses we put our faces in hat boxes after the sunday service. everyone worth their soot had been sacrificed to the father-maker. at home, the clothe came like a dragon. enveloped the whole living room. all i was doing was trying to smile. the mirrors had grown eyelashes. no more birds for the year. mother got the stork scissors & promised she would be quick. being a daughter is always quick. a chair with no legs. empty dinner plates. sons in the fire place. no more wood, we must use boys. she said, "now, they will know you belong to me."
sky saving we went out with our ice cream scoops to pick favorite pieces of sky. everything has been burn pile lately & i don't expect many more years of blue. the jars we use are worn & the sky goes in like jello angels. all i want to is enough sugar to last me the rest of my life. i wish there were still phenonmenon that still felt certain. instead, i boil the jars. caught a cloud & a blush of sunset. in this world, there has been too much or not enough keeping. my sky belongs to me. that is, until it is night & i am lonely again.
necromancing i started with dead squirrels who would talk like thimbles all autumn rain. together we ran the moon out of the sky. we ate bark & shot arrows at crows. a fork beneath the tongue. candlelabras floating inside our chests. there is always a trail to follow back. unlike the otherside, this life rings & rings. i tell a deer carcass "follow the flute in the hallway." she wakes up. frantic with gunshots & wild onion. everyone is folded twice. here is my altar. here is where we butcher the ghost. here is the dance i ask of you, my darling. rise for me.
a dislike for honeydew we fed the graveyard chex mix & in return everyone went home with plastic rings. i had a ghost for years who begged for canteloupe. i ate it all without sharing. saved only honeydew for him. he'd make necklaces of the seeds. legs on the street have been wild lately. prone to running. a stray dog took a bite out of the sun & burst into flames so now the days are an hour shorter. i don't mind the green fruit. i could eat a whole skull with just a spoon but i'm not a little kid anymore.
word of the day the word of the day is where we met to shed our snake skins. is the secret tongue of spoons. is a grandmother adjusting antenae. is where you took me when you didn't remember i had a body. is the headlight of your face. is the graveyard on the hill looking out at a smug moon. is digging for stone with bare hands. is your hand around my wrist as you say, "we are going." into the woods where words are nothing but carrion. is a place to feed. is a watering wound. is how we thought we would stay alive. is every door you told me was a love poem. is opening my mouth, no sound coming out.
innocence machine i stuck my hand inside the hollow of a god tree & it came out full of marbles. walking through weeds & weathered moth flocks, i am looking for a place to bury my teeth. if only. if only. when i was the size of a black bear, i used to eat with my fingers. soon, i will come upon a great box of transmogrification. it will chew me until i am the purple jelly bean or else the echo of a sincere bought of laughter. when was the last time you cut the head off a plague creature? the difference between my child-self & my now-self is now i am polite to my own desctruction.
slow leak for weeks that winter i would drive each day to the gas station at the foot of the mountain to refill my front tires. kneeling in cold gravel winter made my skin red & raw. how deeply i craved to uncover myself. at home again, becoming a mirror ghost. shower steam. dinner alone at the white dining room table. more calls for snow. dim light of my television. a companion. the pandemic had lost its legs. now crawled through my body with a kind of loneliness only queer people can know. i befriended windchimes & fed the raccoons my scraps. just to find my tires wilted again in the morning.
tea cup language everyone has been talking like toppled kingdoms. i waved to my neighbor yesterday just to see he had a steak knife for a face. this hunger is restless. a stray dog of wooden spoons runs endlessly all night. a bird falls into our cracked bedroom window & i scold you for opening too many pathways. i am, in many ways, a sealed urn. my ashes are my ashes. i just want to go sit with the tea cups. pretend my life is behind a glass case where all we can talk about are the names of flowers & lost lovers' lips. the cups always reject me. they know i'm not one of them. they hear my voice waver.
one night you told me you didn't want to be alone & neither did i. it was raining & the headlights of your car made pearls of every fall. i did not pretend to know you. you did not pretend to know me. there is an intimacy only culled from strangers. i only had one chair in my dorm room. the lamp fell over. i made a door bell inside your mouth. come home. come home. your phone lock screen was a sunset. was it a picture you took? all skin is soft in this dark. when it was over the rain had stopped. we walked together between street lamp islands. then, divided.
love sick i walk my dog on a leash into a red room. i don't actually have a dog. we were on fire & i touched your hand & i said, "anything for you." laying awake until the moon was just a potato roll. dads shuffled in the kitchen putting slippers in the microwave. what i wouldn't do to go back to those first nights. hovering from room to room. i don't have a dog. the room was never red but for you, it was. i kissed every window for luck. then, in the dark, wept. remembered all the dried up lakes. your coat standing in the driveway by itself.
sewer conduit of my animal. let's mammal until we have enough blood. make loud pipe opera. gator a family. o my calliope teeth. oil. soap. they tell you not to say the word but the word becomes a body prophecy. once, sun-bathing now in the banana peel realm with all the corporation rot. here, babies are still in their boxes. muck. mirrors. memory sprouts her antenna. radios croon into footprints. you talked into the drain, conjuring me. how could you know my terrors? you did not want me. you wanted to speak & watch each word grow legs.
popcorn garden in a handful, i live like bees. trees on their iphones say, "i am almost here." the garden had bad service & brown paper bags. i hid myself in piles. the movies came with their butter & police men. we watched over & over until the roses had learned how to speak all our dead languages. crunching on a mourning dove heart. kernels for eyes. all i can hear are rustling leaves. trash bags full of eyelashes. the garden stopped weeping & so i started. it went wrong. so wrong. i convinced myself only i could see it.
permanence sometimes a bucket of skulls stares at me through the walls from where it sits in the other room. i don't want to endure like a candle in the back of a raccoon's throat. but the thing about bodies is there will always be a new one. i hope my next body is a bowl or a spoon. so much depends upon a mouth's worth of blood. i stop at a gas station between here & heaven & eat in my car. talk to god who hides in the glove box. at the end of the day there is just the river & even she doesn't know what her next throat is.
dandelion salad i have been hungry for years. what can fit in my mouth: mountains of baby shoes, a ceiling fan, & handfuls of pollen. i dip my fingers in bronze. make a cast of my reaching. the field has enough to eat but not enough to make an animal of me. where has your famine taken you? i sleep walk into a lion's mouth. turn into a heart or a rib. some days i stop to pick the weeds, not like a gardener but like a family member. i dig for the root. missing legs. little girls. lop-sided apples. plates of belonging. the table is long & dark. i am in the salad's dream.
a highway runs through the garden of eden i strip mall myself & then i feel almost better. eat apples in parking lots. pillow talk with a dumpster. the demons sulk collecting broken glass & hurling it at the wrought iron garden gates. when eden shows up along the side of the road i try to drive with my eyes closed. i don't want mythology. at least not anymore. i want only to be fed. a stoplight bears fruit. i don't believe i was ever naked. maybe in a past life as a lemon. now, i just open my mouth & wait for snakes to come.
towers of babel sometimes my tongue collapses in on itself & all i can say is "i'm sorry." language for me is the bird that breaks against window. often i open my mouth & find a ziggurat. the gods do not speak at all. i am trying to cradle my own babylon. watching those other worlds in lake water. i stand on ceilings to try to tell a truth. prophets burried up to their elbows. i am not the words that read me & yet often a single word will be all i can think for a whole year. i can't tell you what it is now. that would kill the magick. instead i will show you the tower.
space camp in the summer, i built a planet inside my mouth where i traveled to be an astronaut. ate nothing but fruit roll-ups & planted picnic tables to visit in my chest. in the house everyone walked around with telescopes for eyes. my parents saw nebula but not mice or moths. in the neighborhood i once knew a boy who had been to the sun & a girl who burried venus in her yard. i kept my celestial to myself. a ladder reached from my yard to the moon. there, alone, i pretended to be sitting among fellow travelers.
living telescope all the gumball planets to chew on. i wait here as if i might pull the infinite into the living room. meat balls for dinner. my father stands at the window talking about world war two generals. mars is wearing her clip-on earrings & jupiter is a wedding cake. tonight, i am just a boyhood inside a girlhood. putting a tiara on pluto. the galaxy is trans like me in the sense that everything keeps eating itself. my father takes out his eyes to roll them as dice. planet-x pupils. pulpit of dead stars. i listen.
sea shell i want to give my mom the ocean. we eat meatloaf in heaven & all the animals are sea animals. i found my gills in a trash can & every day i have looked back like orpheus into the mouth of the could-have-been. this new life is made of glass. this new life is full of rice noodle windows. i eat my way through sadness & find more sadness on the other side. shot-gun is where future lives. begs to go home. if only i had enough money to buy the biggest sea shell in the world. she could live in it. we all could.
ghost crabs we crouch in the october sand to watch as the ghost crabs operate their graveyards. burry wedding rings & sea glass & teeth. a shipwreck happens every seven seconds. we close our eyes & pretend it is not happenings. it is not a year at all. we all are still walnuts. the ocean spits another mermaid on shore. she has daggers for teeth & wild blackberry eyes. the ghost crabs come to trim her hair. they say, "you will never fall in love like this." i will never fall in love like this, waiting. waiting for a whale to fall from the sky.
light house some of us cut off our lips & watched as they turned into gulls & butterflies. i became the shipwreck captain. told everyone, "that is not an ocean. not anymore." eagerly, they accepted. it was a dead god. culling debris, we found scalpels. used the blades to slice clouds for ourselves to eat & to cradle. when pillars are falling, you will want to give everything a name. daughter & son & lover. the masthead lay like a bundle of arms. i carried her until her "her" was gone & it was just wood. in the house we turn off the light. carry it to the basement. hoard each ray.
day w/ landscape i searched for flies to hold. hand inside hand. my fists like ripe apples. autumn in an ice box. milkmen drinking syrup. the hills stopped sleeping years ago & now all they do is cough. valley where the buttons go to become beetles. there's no one to tell me i'm not just a stone collecting moss. dig in earth for mirrors. every one of them empty. our souls were feed for race horses. they ran to pieces. we try to get them back. stained glass lake. saints on the edge brushing grubs from their hair. i manage to find a spoon. i swallow it for safety.
keep out sign i need a podcast to tell me where to carry our skulls. crystal & wax. beyond is the beyond. here is ash. so, i go elsewhere-ing myself all the way to the house of the abandoned woman. a vigil skeleton. nothing but knot & rot. she shakes her head at me, "no no no." in the house, mice play pretend as humans. cook casseroles & say the rosary. there was not enough warning words. "out" is a place i have always been crawling towards. outside. outcast. outrun. then, "keep," is to be broken toy. keep me in canisters. keep me as fire wood. who is to say if the room is full of nails or apples? so, i enter. a snake in the corner plays banjo. says, "go on."
sugar glass we talked through tin cans for years. your house, on the other side of broken. my nest, in the see-through trees. from the sky feathers fell & melted on our tongues. sweet & dangerous. rocking horse rocked on & on. nothing could quiet my need to devour your family's crystal goblets. i watched as your father hunted & killed rabbits for their sugar. slitting a throat. white fur. hunger will bring anyone to the statue forest. you promised to deliver me a bowl of cream & never came. so, i ate what i could. buttons & door knobs. found our talking can full of shards.
rip van winkle who hasn't slept for twenty years in the wild dark woods? i mourn my waking like an animal. for so long sleep pressed her spider web face to mine. fingers falling rain. ripening planets. mars, the little apple. i used to be able to carve hollows in my own shadows. then, came nightmares. blighted moon. corn husks full of eyes. my father telling me i need to keep moving from dawn to dusk. him as a bear. him as a woodpecker. now, here, orange suns chew my bones. there is sleep & then there is the world after. peeling moss from skin. where are we? where is the woods? how do i sleep again?
jungle gym in the mulch, we burry our heads & run around without sound or sight. my childhood was a worm graveyard & a torn skirt. now, every day i am going backwards towards playground. it sings a song about vivisection. jungle gym remembers my touch. spines grow wild. from dirt & from inside trees. tasting wood in our mouths. grasp cool metal bars & follow them until they burst verdant. rainbow texture. jungle. voices like rain fall promises we are safe here. i dread trying to find my head & seeing how small this escape is.
graveyard graveyard is the whole apartment building & inside the refrigerator & inside every cupboard. we put shovels to sleep. tune televisions for dirt. decomposition. worms write hieroglyphs. beetles advertise. i bought an electric graveyard & a self-service graveyard. the dead have instagram accounts. are selling robot therapy. tell me, do you remember your first death? mine was behind glass. loss of blood & fingers. the highway opens its perennial wounds. neon graveyard. lover graveyard. gas station graveyard. a neighbor died last night & the ambulance had graveyard lights. i scrolled in my graveyard. then, slept in my graveyard.