she was raised in rope: the best
dancer of three,
heedful, bitter toward the cromulent melody
what else would you expect
from the coarsest surroundings?
she was only taught one song.
see how mother unhinges her jaw,
bit and bridle ossified. it is almost
a tender thing, this surgery. she grew it
for you. her quick tongue
works the cartilage, twisting, loosening,
contracting. she pleads your name–it’s time–
rears above you, not like mother at all but
maiden, betrayed: rug burns up and down
her throat, all throat, all
digestion, choking as it finally breaks, falls back, but no–
she still has it, control. you notice her scales
glistening even now, poised and perfect
while she wrestles for air, jerking forward and finally
victory, regaining full command, she
nestles it, saliva-soaked, between your molars
bowl filling, funneling
the pipe, well
overwhelmed. and with
one swallow you become
the poison’s heir and slave
how crippling to have every breath seasoned by leather.
of course you dance.
Out of the Aviary
Did you know there can only be one? No more clowns freeze-dried vacuum-packed into a tiny cocoon, endlessly brewing, insanity steeped. We all fall down, plagued by the options, ready for war, burning upside-down for our intravenous blasphemy. Flesh splatters with each blazing lick of poison, and we think, this is—damn!—necessary. We are never convinced.
Maybe the problem is too many feathers, too much warmth, too chained in respect. Maybe we’ve Hydrated, mouths battling mouths for lunch and love. So we’re agreed: let’s combust – gnarled and disgraceful, receptacles for tsk 1 and tsk 2, ready to astound with a final magic trick: birthday. Have we been made new? How the hell should we know when each cell has its own whispered resurrection? Jesus, just hurry up.
I choose, and look around at all the ashy death. This is necessary, I say, rising, windward.
i caught Never, sent her wistful siren back to half-past autumn, but there are so many more liquid pulses, nestled serpentine synapses, finely tuned to blend with blood & breathing. it’s like separating bone from sinew, cake from frosting, white from snow, or your voice from my waistband.
these, far too large to be squirrels, pounce on my clotheslines, Longing teasing Amity like mz. popular changes her mind. grief’s the only rhythm, and these strings remember, remember that stretch There. that ache, This latitude. the potency of low when grass is whisper-near and is you taut or is you wavy, sines and wonderings? how much did they loosen, and how much of you came unraveled at birth
I’m a reg’lar sweep, I am, blistered with cinders, deep in the glory of a powerful sneeze. Wrestling my digits into the meaty maze, I smudge every synapse, withering zaps to this melancholic omnipresent purr. I’ll be damned if this isn’t depression’s pixie dust: steel-whiskered musk steeped in battered imagination, evangelizing its vapors of maybe. What is ash but both ends of potential, waiting and finished? This drug powders every kindness dull, litters the innocent vegetable garden. You never said who made the weeds grow strong, asphyxiation-able, and though I know I did not make this tree, he split all the wood, every last log. On the fourth year I still hope for the third day, the new world, the resurrection of the lamb drowned in gold, struggling to see if the shepherd teaches how to swim or waits for her to realize her inaquaticy. My gift is to leave my environment breathless, sunken, the flimsiest heap of whatever smirks next to death.
Christy Jones is a Minnesotan poet, singer, actress, and playwright. She recently completed her MFA in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University, and has previously been published in Eunoia Review, Crux Literary Journal, and Scarlet Leaf Review. She’ll defend the honor of musical theater, linguistics, empathic design, and the non-ironic use of a hearty Midwestern accent to her dying day.