There’s this new fad where everyone wants to be with God and I don’t mean in His soul or whatever but actually Be With Him. Widows are leaving their homes. College girls spend too long in old men bars. My dog was even staring up at a church, pulling against her leash to get in. There’s just something sexy about knowing. Like, shit, maybe we are His kids or whatever but it would be nice to be kissed by a mouth that knew what it was doing. I just want to be taken care of anyway. Swaddled. Coddled. Held like a baby sparrow, like a goldfish out of water for a couple moments. We’re all waiting somewhere.
Every horror movie begins the same: a mouth swollen with rain water. We didn’t hear the dogs bark. Every night, a wishbone thrown on the porch. We thought only of her car sinking the bottom of the lake, of the skins we left in the backyard. We knew our place. The dinner table, our tongue ripe with nostalgia, smiling with no teeth, ghostwater leaking from the closet. We didn’t hear the dogs bark. And then, her hair like a halo, the killer ourselves, our mouths, empty, hands, still as water.
But who had the broken fingers, wrists blue and purple like flower in a picture book? Pepper jars and turpentine and pillars of salt, scattered stems in the bathtub, burning on the stove. Leanne, legs long as that journey west, and the horrible fairy tales about children drowning in the river two miles east, and black burnt suns in the couch, and the walls grow tighter like a horror movie or a booby trap. In Egypt, they call this love.
God keeps a bottle of Advil in his glove compartment. Just in case, ya know. Long car rides. Would be shit to have a migraine. He goes down a side road to avoid traffic. It’s morning. No, night. He’s sexier than you expected. But not like movie star sexy. Or high school quarterback sexy. He’s more like Hot Dad. It’s weird. You pull your skirt down. Adjust your seatbelt. The light bends around him, drips from the window to your thighs. He’s not going to ask you how your night went or if your life is okay or if you can redeem your one fairy tale wish. He’s looking straight into the night, hand tapping on the car door. The stars are winking. He stops at the light, and you wonder if he’s going to kiss you.
Baby doll, rabbit-knees and lips. How to interrupt the tongue of a bridge and not taste the water. How to crack the lights and slip into these walls. Baby doll, five knuckled, two ringed, one mouthed, silk fucked and mean. Ocean big as her thighs. Ocean big as her name. Maybe stones sharp as her neck. Maybe the rise of a crest. All those burning fields, and her fingers were kissing softly, waiting softly.
Softly now, Eve transcends.
She remembers the garden,
kissing him, her tongue, his teeth,
the pink of his gums, her cheeks, red.
How he touched her thigh & she became
morning. The power in her hands,
the summer in his breath. The horses.
The rain. Eve learns to love the body
she has and the body she came from
at the same time. The apples and pears
and flowers directly above her, her fingers
digging into his ribs. A reminder: this is the first place
you called home.
Poem for boy with all his baby teeth in a ring box under his bed. Poem for boy with bee stingers in his palm, for broken neck birds, too many pink scars on his shoulders. Poem for boy nailing our scarecrow to the tree out back. Poem for boy, bloodless hands, dead father, weighed down branches, steady. Poem for riverbank eulogy, poem for the house on fire, for the empty bedrooms, for the baby teeth, for his scratched out face, for the wheat I pulled to make that scarecrow whole. Poem for boy, for husk, for knotted rope, and a white bird, all quiet, all burned.
God called me Fish Heart. Lily Mouth. I was an evening sort of girl. He liked me better ripped up, bar bathrooms, bar peanuts, skip the small talk. We’re both Adam. We’re both Eve. In the mornings, swallowing bait, swallowing nails, pulling apart the microwave, two forks and an empty socket. Baby, there is always a limit. Hours spent rubbing my belly, waiting for watermelon trees, or orange bushes, or flowers heavy with green apples. And now, this is what I can dissect: his fingers in the gut of the fish, his fingers in the core of the flower, always pulling. Like it wasn’t enough to feel, like He had to see, to know.
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