Thursday, August 29, 2019

Duet for Singing Saw and Tissue Paper Comb

The first time we kissed, inside our mouths
she passed me a tiny comb
and told me when the time came
I'd know what to do with it.

She has a look on her face
like she's standing in the center
of a circle of rats.
She has a look on her face
like she thinks if she opens her mouth
a bird will shit in it.

The bones of a snake   
A box elder necklace
A spider weaving a web
between her and I

She rolls around in the dust
to cool her wings
Scratches for grubs in the dirt,
then mails them to me.

She washes her hands in a fast, clear brook
so cold it turns her fingertips
into burning strawberries

She keeps one pocket filled with sticks of white chalk
and the other filled with lengths of charcoal
She dips her hand in one then the other
smears the gray powder across her lips
and scowls

She shrinks the city down to a pellet
that she can easily swallow
if she feels the forest around her
start to spin

Her favorite perch is a bale of hay
cast in bronze, hulking in the shadow
of a charred Volkswagon bus
beside a gully choked
with blackberry brambles.

She struts around with someone else's
bobby pins in her teeth.
On fancy occasions she wears
a safety-pin tiara
and fur stoles made of hair extensions.
She stuffs her bra with plastic baby doll heads.

She awakens in the night
to the ripping of Velcro teeth
out in the distant creek
and cries for her crawfish mama
to come caress her with her claws.

The first time we kissed,
inside our mouths she passed me a tiny comb
and told me I'd know what to do with it.

To this day, I don't, and probably
never will, but I keep it hidden
under my tongue, just in case.

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