Viper

cracked earth

 

love is rebellion
when you begin to crack like scorched earth
and the sun’s traitorous kisses leave you like a sparrow’s egg
when what was demanded of you since the day you arrived
falls further into memory with each sunset

love is mutiny
when your shadow covers more sand than it should
when your body is soft
like your will
and keeps moving after you have stopped

love is brazen
when all you’ve made evaporates
like dew from a cactus’ spine
and the only thing you bring to each dusk is that
small drains on this plane’s resources
are still breathing

love is madness
when you’re the molted skin
of the creature you once were
and changing winds
leave you flailing
for how or where to spend yourself
and anyhow, you’re spent

you miss her
all nerve and knowing, instinct and ease
you regard her waffling, wilted remains
with contempt

then you survey the terrain that shaped these remains
brittle, broken, careless
beating down on every beating thing
and you realize your contempt is borrowed
from a place that only ever wanted to hollow you and move on

and the taste of venom rises to your mouth again
fuck everything you’re supposed to be
you whisper tenderly
with a flick of your forked tongue

diving lessons

 

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there’s pixie dust in the water
off this island coast
where time is liquid
so i am both mother and child
and can learn the things i never did
about how to fall
and how to fly

there’s place on this rock
where hands and feet press concrete
to shape the land
but it is the land that shapes
as it did mothers and fathers
great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers
whose ashes conform to the landscape

there is family in this place
sprawls like family
stings like family
deep like family
thick like family

there’s sacrament in these cups
their origin unknown
intermingled as the stories that flow with wine
on docks, on decks, in kitchens

there’s story in these beams
creaking beneath my feet as they are lifted and dropped by the tide
whispering things to which they have borne witness
battles and confidences
tear-soaked towels
(marginally) true tales
hymns and bootylicious
curses uttered over failing motors
prayers of gratitude
hand-clasped leaps
and other pacts
feet that have pressed them
running-running-running, slowing, but never ceasing to return
to the rites observed here

there is pixie dust in this water
so I stand where beam meets sea
and tip
head-before-feet
falling into the deep’s embrace