Anything Unstoppable and Near
after Carl Phillips' "Cortège"
What is the sound of his body?
Sifting flour falling on a metal sheet
or a leaf underfoot. I wanted to know
the feral burning of skin, the brittle crushing
of bone as dried tulips in a fist.
How did you know one another?
We buried a polished rib in the loam.
A stitched lung coarse as sugar could only
ever fail. My body, a small replica
of freckled skin laid bare.
What did you say to him?
You are an ephemeral stitch
I can't stop pulling, a necessary
thread I won't miss until unraveled.
Describe what it felt like.
Watching blood from a ruptured vein spread,
hail pummeling windshields, anything
unstoppable and near.
What do you remember?
The movement of clouds
across an indescribable blue,
the bunching of a cotton shirt.
Where is he now?
Below my sternum, a tree is budding
and I can hear the branches sway.
It grows and grows.
Mire Without End
In blushed and bruised crevices
I embroider my name on your skin
while you sleep. Let you wrap me
in a whalebone bodice and squeeze
until the fillings in my teeth
fall into the cedar chest. Maybe
I would be your housewife,
tie fern to the trellis in the shape
of my mouth just after your touch
or spend my days like the starlings
building a nest for eggs the shade
of lapis lazuli. I could be alight
or longing for flight and fumbling
in your tangled limbs, a listlessness
that gives way to shudder and spite
among shards of painted porcelain.
I could be malleable in anyone's
hands, a mire without end.