Size / / /

You use

an instrument of tusk,

of yellow tooth,

imperfections filed

into ghost.

They are invisible, to most.

Your fingers know.

I know your fingers.

I know them in the salt-sea.

I know them, charcoal-smudged,

smelling of smoke.

I know them pulped by fruit,

still wet with sea,

the sweet and the sour.

With this object,

your spider-fingers take

from wires hidden

in a box.

You transform

a swell of notes.

The stars, a silence, a sudden

dive and then a thunderstorm

- and now I have forgotten

how to take my skin off

like a lady's dovegray glove

and put it back on

as purple as the stomach of a flea.

To run like a deer.

To hide like a hay stalk in a hay stack.

All I can do

is root,

and snarl, and feel my thoughts

tangle and cross, grow green leaves,

   edged like teeth

and dense with veins.

All I can do is snarl, tangled

heavily across this chair,

and cling to the wall.

At least I have thorns,

although I open wide, whiter than silk

and redder than thread.

Despite my head,

I blossom like fire from a match.

I forget

how to shed

this shape:

When you close the lid,

and take your fingers from the monster's teeth,

and come to pluck me,

scatter my petals

so that I will never grow again—

I hope you bleed.




Jessica is mildly obsessed with the play of words, which is why she devours poetry from Tennyson to Clifton to Cummings. She co-edits the online poetry 'zine Goblin Fruit with Amal El-Mohtar and wishes that the movie "Serenity" didn't exist, so that she could imagine a Firefly second season.
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