there is a reason my body creaks like a closing casket every time I fuck with the lights left on
it is the same reason my friend burns photographs of birds and watches the smoke with pleading eyes
we both had years when the phoenix didn’t rise
when we slept in beds of cindered feathers and held hollow ashen beaks like other kids held ice-cream cones
I sucked the bones of a songbird’s rotting wing.
and you think your pills are gonna fix me doctor?
think i’m gonna chase this down with water?
my shame as loud as his next girl’s nightmares
I tied my tongue like laces around my little brother’s shoes
like a bow around the gift I gave to my father and mother
and my silence equalled every christmas morning when we were still happy and grateful
but my silence was also his next girl’s eyes
her voice falling like timber no one chose to hear
her roots ripped up the sound eroding to the din of an older man’s zipper.
10 years later i awake in damp sheets to the sound of her voice cracking like a frozen lake
and i never knew her name
never saw her face
only heard the rumour he’d moved on to the haemorraghe of another perfect thing
so now here I sing through cinder
through microphones raised like white flags in war zones through poems I have dug from my throat like fishing hooks
from here i look back at my voice lowered to half mast and how he must have stood there with his dirty hand on his dirty heart laughing like a broken levee while his next girl woke with body bags around her eyes and enough shame in her gut to give the hurricane her own name.
if i could see her face
if I could face the eye of her storm
how would I tell her that I speak for a living?
would I offer my own wounds as condolence?
would I say his claws carved me animal
would I say that at 14 years old i threw my bloodied fists into my boyfriend’s face untill his eyes swelled shut, his lips turned crimson and his jaw cracked – untill I was convinced his hands were not every man’s hands
would I ask tell her I have stood under street lamps
waited for swarming flies to identify my body as carcas
swallow every grain of salt
and leave nothing but the trellis of my untouched bones
I remember the fault lines at the corner of his eyes
the way he shook hands with my father
the look on his face beneath the swollen sun – even his shadow looked guilty
concrete made crime scene by his touch
would I tell her all of this?
would I ask her if she’s ever outlined her own body in chalk? is there crime scene tape on her top dresser drawer from the night’s when her true love’s kiss sounds like an anthem to a dead country and she wakes with rope burns around her neck begging the bodies of strangers to not respect her in the morning
in the morning I wipe my blood from the snow
I wipe my frantic breath from the window
and I bind my breasts so tight that not even the air in my lungs can be identified as woman
are you a carbon copy of myself?
is there a boy inside you painting his soul with the charcol of cindered feathers?
if i could see your face
if I could face the eye of your storm with the warning locked in my voice box that never came
would I tell you all of this
and even if I could would I have the nerve to say i’d never take my silence back
my father owned a gun
he’d have blown that man apart
my mother owned a mother’s heart
everything would have broken
everything but you.