the heat is clinging as fever.
sickly summer sighs tangle
themselves in my fingernails –
i scratch and leak small bubbles
of chlorine. water comes easily
to me these days as though i
am a marooned on an island
made of scabs and puckering
leaves. a flightless swan –
forsaken with her wings
clipped. i kiss the grass
each time i see it; a promise
to myself. i melt ten milligrams
of zopiedm tartrate under my
tongue and regurgitate a
playground. i dreamt i crossed
lupin street alone and barefoot.
it was the year of one thousand
blizzards and each one bled me
until i calcified. now the hint of
ice crystals weathers me until
all i am is blade: sharp and ready.
the exhale of snow lanterns me.
the stale air hides in my sides
somewhere just above the
hip. i remake myself a bird
house. paint chips away and i
examine the canyons between
brushstrokes. my body: a waterfall
caked in cold. each tendril carved
out of a larger mass. each pulse
a synapse stuck mid-beat. i pour
the flat little pills into the tub
with me – study as they bubble
and liquefy. i become them – each
grain imbedding into my pores, into
my blood. midnight in march and i
dream oceanic. the forever-maw of
the waves riptide me and i fracture
right down the middle. my spleen
floats off and i am hollow. the
unyielding porcelain bath now
just a memory of a ship.
your drunk eyes betray you always. the stilted graze of your lips against my fingers. gasp of the steering wheel. exaltation of smoke. on the other side of the world, the sheep are put to bed; blankets awash with straw. on the other side of the world, someone uncovers rotting crab apples amidst the deluge of leaves. look how the sky displaces us. porch lights crinkle. the relic of your basement. the mountains blush in our direction. here where i toppled over myself. here, pocked with snow.
i sit in the bathtub and pool atlantic. the tile the color of teeth. a duck floats across my knee, a cargo ship drowning in mold. the overflow drain invisible but taking. the taste of your tongue on my tonsils — a clod of soil, the memory of hips. you, leaning on the rusting picnic table, serendipitously planted in the middle of a creek. me, knee deep in water, a bottle of rum and a pack of matches. stones skipping across the lichen laden river, a traveler in their own right. us, coiled in the grass, guitar forgotten in the brush, the night a halo. us, half asleep in the manzanita, smoke gathering and wilting to flood. years later and i pluck your eyelashes from behind my knees; flashlight, a curled beam of ivory and porcelain.
Kate Wilson is the Managing Editor of TERSE. Journal, an Interview Correspondent with Half Mystic, and an Assistant Editor with Alien Magazine. Their work can be found at Entropy, Poets.org, and Parentheses Journal, among others. They cannot do a somersault, but they can be found online here: https://msha.ke/katewilson/#about