i’m learning how         to knit         with my fingers
              you’d never guess       how many times
i’ve failed at failing                           i’m bad at talking to myself
              truth is:            who cares                         i don’t
              i’m                     not equipped                   for the long haul
but i’m              well i’m chasing my tail in triangles
& forcing geometry                   to align with my preconceived notions
of how to be a               world finger knitting champion
or maybe         i’ll blossom                       into a round slick bottomed
black & yellow honeybee         haven’t i been telling you           the truth for
years                   if i were a spider,         maybe a lovely black widow
or charlotte                     spinning webs               i wouldn’t
               be a liar & this wouldn’t           be debatable
               everyone wants to         save the bees
& kill the spiders             this is all i have            the binary of life & death
the good & the wicked i could finger knit you a sweater
that’s stained with        my blood & you’d call it what it is:                       ruined
i’ve imagined what i could                    accomplish if i were waking up
              every day & trying on new                     fingers
would there be a sense of urgency that is often missing (more…)

Scott sits in my house after his grandmother dies
and tells me all the ways they might sew her mouth shut
for the funeral.

                             There are three main ways they do it, he says.
                             There’s a kind of mouthguard, and a dermal punch,
                             or sometimes they might attach wires to the gums
                             to crank the mouth closed. And if none of that works,
                             they’ll just sew you up. Needle and thread.

Scott stares into his tea.
He’s been reading a book about mortuaries, which he recommends.
He’s learned all kinds of useful information, especially now,
with both of us considering how we would want our own mouths kept closed
when we die. (more…)

What does it mean      when all we have between us
is the lap lap lap of river water           against a blue cheek
the smell of minerals and fish              the grit of the shore

And do you remember                          when you told me all you saw in me
was the void and cloudless sky—       do you remember the rush of stars
on our faces and when I leaned in     I whispered and you turned

and took my hand        What does it mean when we emerge together
with twigs in our hair and mouths     And will you rescue me
over and over again     Do you promise                       Will you save me (more…)

Shemira

When you said we each choose our own death I asked your ghost
to guide me. Among your abandoned drafts: silence and spaces,
the height of the flame, the torn page, blood under the words.
When the wound was cauterized, you painted your lips around it.
I’m talking to you, Clarice.
And I will keep your secrets, everyone else’s on top of my own.
I won’t speak of the spells you cast, how in the dark
you’d search for the words that would steal something
back from the dead. And those parts of yourself
you thought were dead. The lives you could’ve lived.
Husbands never understand words like yours, or gods,
or bodies. How the name you were given,
one I’ve been called before and in anger,
was buried behind others until you were.
Twice forged of mutable fire, under a new moon
and planets laid down like stones on a grave.
How many marks of erasure, how many pages you let burn.
I’m with you now. The moon’s in your sign again.
Full just past dawn, and my body will rise to meet it.
Do you write the story of decay or does it write you.
Did you cause more harm with your hands or your mouth.
Like you I longed for silence but someone always near,
someone there to weigh each breath. Your ghost was me
called by another name. Like you I was a night person. (more…)