there is a two-inch gap behind my books,
a mouth stuffed with shiny aluminum
packaging – reflective ribbons that swallow
every lightness directed its
way. jonesing for a shot of self-loathing,
I distill a sip of soured elixir for every pound of doubt: a show of
I am both luciferous performer and staunch
disciple – I follow the doctrines
of weights and measures, meditation and tea.
no room have I for indulgences,
no budget have I for cream. in the quake
of echoes I nurse my milky bruises and
stand at the altar, oily with kitchen
grease, slick with pig fat.
woman, carbonated with indignation,
cross-eyed from introspection – I reek of
disguised terror, of decay in the name
of health, of self-
martyrdom, of maxims
that minimize and deny the silver rivers
on my thighs, the fractures
in every reflection. I stretch and
break, bend the light away, and grow
so beautifully rotten in complacency
– sugar, don’t
romantics make the best cynics.
This poem was originally published in Barzakh Magazine on July 11, 2020.