This page contains:
- Body transformation
i. In the beginning was the word.
Already the word existed, and the word was God.
(With flaps of tongue and clicks of teeth,
with spasms of corded sinew timed to the pulse-beats of His glottis,
He turned consonants into calve muscles
and vowels into ventricular systems.)
He thought, therefore man is. Man is, and is in His image.
She is, and she is God.
ii. As He once appeared in Eden, she appears in a garden.
Autumn mist coalesces as the sun
crawls on spider-legs, casting its web
and light over wooded acres.
Palls of dusky paleness cling
to towering evergreens,
its phantasmagoric softness
like that of memories.
(The eyes are in the house.
They are not here.)
When the morning gains its color, gossamer shrouds
grow heavy; the groves fade from pastels to
like photographs on paper.
The haze is transmogrified;
a dew of silvery teardrops are
left clinging to stems,
to verdure, in the way that pearls
are threaded with strings.
(Between curiosity and danger,
between her first step and her next,
falls her shadow.)
For this is her Kingdom, and she
wends the path she forges
crowned in an aureole of dawn.
Childish faith in immortality inspires her
walk, and in the forest-deep,
she finds gilded leaves dripping pools of
smelted, glowing gold.
(Here we go ‘round the prickly pear,
Prickly pear, prickly pear)
iii. The tree is heavy with jewels.
A treasure cloistered in
a copse, surrounded by thickets
and thorns and threats.
It is her first time seeing
with her own eyes.
(Don’t go round the prickly pear.
Don’t eat from Father’s garden.)
Apples dangle, glimmering wetly,
their flush a perfect match for
Excitement tickles her empty
belly as senses are roused,
and she is enticed
by the tang of sweet rot.
(Between the yearning and the warnings,
between the branches and the roots,
falls her shadow.)
An apple’s life is not
long, she notes, nearly slipping
in puddles of pulp.
The crisp air festers further when
her boot crushes fruit,
half-molded, bursting its flesh
as one might an organ.
She can taste spongy
viscera before plucking her prize.
(The hope of hollow stomachs.)
Pulling breakfast from its bough, she thinks
of Christmas trees and Christ
of gardens and God
of herself in the mottled sheen
of her apple’s skin; the weary groan
of low-hanging limbs, its summons suggestive
of grandmother’s crooked fingers,
of reminders to pray before taking
(Between missing teeth and swollen cheeks,
between mastication and swallowing,
between her epiglottis and her trachea,
falls the apple.)
iv. For Thine is—
For Thine is the—
Fruit and knees are bruised in the topple to earth,
around her throat.
(A bulge. Lodged.)
It is hell and thermal expansion and a chunk of smothering coal and
Her lungs wither
embers winking in her periphery as
flames eat at her vision.
The picturesque morning
in upon itself, overdeveloped and turning
Cheerful chirrups— birdsong
harmonize with fruitless heaving. She
is, and she is God and God would cast a girl from Eden, but
she cannot cast Eden
from her esophagus.
Spittle foams in her lip’s corners,
frothing down her mouth when
her serpent tongue betrays her.
She crumples like
Genocide and Genesis
lie the powers of God
Glassy eyes reflect the sky
in hues of stained-blue glass,
open windows that lead to
(not here, not here;
this is the dead land)
Soon there are others
to fill that void,
squelching and squishing
for a chance to peek
through fibrous casements.
(A headpiece filled with—)
Maggots and worms
at home in her skull;
ants march through
the tubes of her bones.
(Rushing like wind)
A raven feeds
on the meat of inner thighs, and
on juicy, deliquesced fat and
a seed possesses
her heart as
hair becomes weeds,
(in a field)
Mortal bodies are not
but sentience and dirt,
until they become one.
When finally found by family, she
as the soil
that comprises her grave.
There is nothing to do but
let her grow.
(Between the sentience and the subliminal
between the parables and the parody)
In the spring, a sapling sprouts
from the urn of her gullet
Fertilized by fetid tissue, it
becomes hearty and strong.
In six falls’ time, her body
bears beautiful fruit.
(And at five o’clock in the morning,
her brother wakes hungry.)
“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
— T. S. Elliot, “The Hollow Men”