A human being is a mouse-cage
Walls of the nest lined and fluffed
with candy and scraps
The whole of what a child would think of
Ice cream for dinner and
Staying up late
all compressed into one cotton-ball for sleeping on
The spirit inside racing on the wheel of the brain
climbing the rope-ladder veins and viscera
Up and down
Until one day it escapes
A thousand wings
A million eyes
A blinding light like a dentist’s
Eagle talons and lion claws
Metamorphosis beyond the frail imaginings
of little girls and boys
And you wanted this, didn’t you?
You asked for it, so here,
Limitlessness beyond comprehension is yours
It’s that cruel thing that brings you to your knees again
Bearing up under the weight of tonnes of muscle and bone
Even in your weakness, horns tall and
Nose touched to the ground like curtsy
Human beings may have brought you low
But they said a prayer for you,
When they did it
And then of course they dug you up again
And made you a monument to yourself,
Bowing, a courtier,
Your own funeral attendee with rips in your
Tight black plastic skin
Dancing the dance of etiquette with us
After we invented it,
After we put it aside
And murdered you.
Something pretty about me falls away in winter,
When I lose my leaves and flowers like a sharp black tree.
Spring, summer, and fall, strange men pursue me,
Tap me on the shoulder, and tear at my clothes!
But as the sun sets earlier, my shoulders square and my eyes steel.
The soft things in me harden;
Butter frozen in the dish, that tears through whatever you spread it on.
A witch lives in a house where butter is never soft;
Where milk goes off too soon and animals never approach;
Where men awaken in the morning to a mouthful of pins and needles,
Lips sewn shut,
Pick-up lines stillborn on the tongue.
I have taken alcestis’ place many times
Sighed for her and said I’ll go instead
Moved heaven and earth
Torn death screaming from its place
So others might walk once more in the sun
And so I might what?
Ah, so I might.
It would be good to stop living and dying for someone else
To quell this rhythm
“Do it for them, do it for them,”
That makes such an irregular heartbeat
Too strange to straighten a body
And would they understand what I had done for them before?
Ah, so they might.
You don’t know what to say.
She carried your body across three states,
Held you in the air and fed you your last meal,
And you don’t know what to say.
Because she carried you, bore you to soft ground
And cypress trees,
But threw away the flowers for your funeral.
Your Dowry Hope Chest lies open,
Alms for the poor,
In some nameless little town along the way.
Is it “Thank you?” Is that what you want to say?
Were you disregarded? She carried you…
She shrouded you and broke ground,
However rough her hands were,
However quickly she moved! Even still…
And you are thankful to lie in this good dirt,
You want to be thankful for it here.
So you try not to think of it,
How there was a hole to fill and a rotting corpse to bury,
How you were one more thing that could fall into place:
Flowers to the field,
Linens to the needy,
Corpses to the ground
Where they belong.
And what should you say?
You are dead and gone, settled at last;
She does not expect you to say anything.
And so it does not matter if
You don’t know what to say.
No matter what you dedicate yourself to, it hurts.
There is always the honeymoon, the good time,
The spark inside whistling:
“I was made for this!”
And that’s a dangerous thought;
You weren’t made for anything.
It needs to stop.
It needs to stop, now.
You weren’t made for this hobby,
They’ll leave you behind;
Neither their existence nor your own
Depends upon this union.
From dust, from cells, there is no difference,
They met without any special purpose
And when they are separated and dispelled,
The tears shed for them will evaporate as quickly
As normal saltwater otherwise does.
How many grand purposes have passed you by?
It must be five or six by now.
You weren’t made for this.
It needs to stop.
The moon rose in my window tonight
A half moon
The kind of straight-edged split pea that
Reminds you of math
Real eldritch math that hides under high school Algebra II
Like a hole in the earth that could swallow you forever
Sitting prettily, disguised under a manhole cover
The force that shapes mad dust into planets, spheres,
That folds light just-so around one single, even half of the moon
It rose perfectly in the middle of my window
While I talked on the phone
And then rose up past the top of the casement
As the sky got truly and properly black
And if I were a certain kind of person
A happier person, no doubt, even for all the trouble I would cause,
Its disappearance might be proof enough
It had never been here at all