This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Elizabeth Vignali, is from The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons by Acre Books in 2020.
Witch hazel I boil
below the silver rim,
my moonroof dark, beading sweat
like a horse’s flank, from myth.
So what if Genghis Khan
but the sky?
I revere my own dark matter,
not just spittles of gas or light.
At dawn I chart my mood
across an analog screen,
sine wave hissing: a grass snake’s
S, neon green.
The desert—embered, hormonal—
takes its first inhale. The sun
rises mad, a cigarette’s end
poised above the canyon.
But all sols are the same. The grunt all morning,
rover wheels, friction
crossing the potholes. Damn this world!
Its forever adolescence,
face full of deep depressions, wounds.
Where terra once resigned itself—
laid its ugliness bare—
waxy grass, like Easter baskets’,
now sprigs up through the crater.
In truth, I’m not much for fresh
beginnings. My skin feels fragile,
a blown green glass. I believe
a body’s odor is better
than chemical cures, weapons
designed to wipe out the face.
So I live in fear of the next
bombardment, more waves
passing through the ground:
shatter cones and broken bowls
and my stone door rolling away.
No female can avoid
the Easter morning mandates:
bathe twice in something man-made,
waterless. Blot the blemish
with sterile hemp.
Apply the mineral mask, mica
colonizing us with that chaos
usually reserved for stars.
Unfold the pastel dress:
another cold year passed. (How
many hours, with radiation and wind,
before this lace
unravels back to its brides?)
The acolyte girls circle
around the escarpment,
our skins reflecting
that uncertain light—
So beautiful! So alive! the crowd exclaims.
We flare. They call it spring.
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