Thanatos, or Something Gentle

there’s a quiet rage  looped  around my neck—  i’ve been a cowering  dog, snarling  at impermanence. at night i   hide under lamplight from the three  knocks on my wall. i cover  my nose to   ward off phantom roses—i pierce  papers with unforgiving  black ink and hope  something stays…     i wanted

Body Image

Every day my body wears me and I am worn out by its weight,   by its incessant need to be real. I am a girl half-seeing and half-seething,   kneading my cheeks, grabbing fistfuls of my back and trying   desperately to recall the conversion rate from loose flesh


Because I’m bleeding, the intern asks:  When was your last period?  Date it from the first time  you prayed to the last time you meant it.  Answer as only I can: You won’t  understand, but I was a woman  when I woke and it was right. Imagine me, real and


no one’s as human as you are you know that you are  the most other how can I compete with yourself  the world is full of signs if you are looking for signs see the sky like a dark canopy tented  with an ineffable linchpin see the sky like a

Mantra for Tired Merchants

In Kerala, there are no boats, no palms, drupes, canals or streams — only those who build and tether their faith in kettuvallam dreams.   My hands are anchors: I smother turmeric on sacred snake groves. Come, Nagaraja. Come, Vishnu— and station in her craggy coves.    I pray softly,

Letter from Virginia Woolf to Vita Sackville-West, Burley House, 1913

Lysol. Old lint. Sterile doorknobs. I’ll be here, in this corner, licking the smell of madness from my wounds, forever. I hang immobile, suspended  in air halfway between insanity  and moonlight, listening to the  step-steps of the woman who will  take my dulled pencils away from  me.  I don’t tell

Will the New Lawn Be a Meadow

“Space is only noise if you can see”  –Nicolas Jaar a lake is strung through with braided wire fence posts trail placidly like dead fingers participating in their own wake seventeen-year cicadas stir in the thorn a wet season’s parasite load and the pack beast stops eating exposed wires in


in the Easter- yellow-tiled bathroom of our one room three month lease he tells me while brushing his teeth about how his grand- parents honeymooned here  (converted motel) (Birmingham Alabama) (Big City South) (view of the parking lot) I think of their first-time  missionary and wonder if it hurt or


Every letter in my mailbox is addressed to the previous owner of the house. Every tree on the property has chosen to branch in high places, providing no opportunities for even the most industrious of climbers. My neighbors are building something in their backyard; it is tall and casts its

repeated chorus

if you split your tongue down the middle & tied the halves together    if you sliced the floral tattoo from your thigh & dried it on the kitchen counter   if if if you were anyone other than who you are right now would you have shoulder-warm seaspray or

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