constellations melted like candlewax—what once glittered was now a midnight wound or maybe a rorschach on fire or god stigmata-ing the sky or just an inversion of place. I went outside
& cupped my hands, the wax pooled in them, then burned through, the hole clean & busted.
a man gave me tulips & I cleaved the green from the pretty parts & stuffed the flowers in my mouth. he guided me to the kitchen full of roaches, burrowing in the sugar—
I scooped a handful & fed the man.
I was on the beach watching the sunrise except the sun was a ham. a few towels over a man got up & walked in the ocean up to the horizon. he took the sun meat & ate it.
I took my towel & made a burrito out of myself.
my tongue gilded in gold. people asked me if I’m candy or a corpse & every time, a flake fell off, collecting in my cupped hands. a stranger dipped their finger in spit & then in the gold & then in my ear.
this falling/gathering of decadence was my prayer or was it my offering.
I kept vomiting blue eggs. I set a bowl on the counter & placed them there for a couple of days.
I cracked an egg & a snail crawled out. another & a shark tooth, then a fish egg, and finally an egg yolk. I scooped the yellow stuff into my mouth & used it like Listerine.
Four on Rückenfigur
On your camera, in the corner of the living room. Me, on the couch laying sideways & holding a mirror.
Seeing & capturing the face from behind, a rupture of the figure.
Once the picture printed, my eyes more saturated than I could remember & I was surprised by how soft I could hold myself.
Both fragment & whole. Seeing the distant back of someone, and yet
you still name them, despite the generic shape of it all. This is either intimacy or an interpellation of it, a wishful thinking.¹
You at the table with coffee & me pulping oranges at the sink, the water runs over like the lull & snow of a fuzzy television. Flakes of the fruit’s meat caught under my fingernails—the bright & subtle violence of morning. This sink, at the corner of lavender dish soap & the slush sunk in my skull.
Picking at the orange’s marrow, my fingernail slices thin skin open, my blood dazzling the water. You place your mug in the sink & quickly glance, your hand ghosting across my shoulder.
One night, when the wet night blurred the street lamps damp, I found myself in front of an inked & starless ocean, the dark eating away at the moon. I sat in front of this extinguishing landscape, wrapped myself in its fade of visuals.²
¹However, we often gloss that behindness is eternal & so this is the sacrifice in our calling.
² Sometimes, to be a silhouette to something only means becoming no one’s particular moon, a shadow becoming a shading of something else. This, a long process of leaving everything unnamed, allowing misplaced constellations to float like haloes guttered out in the silent & shapeless center of it all.
a visitation after a rearrangement of the divine word
an angel slashes the back of a stranger’s knees w/ a letter opener. she touches the wound w/ her fist before she leaves—under the impression that violence is a human form—rouges the blood on her cheeks. Yellow glint from the streetlamps gives a damp glow.
she tries to sleep & wraps herself in butcher paper. she looks in the mirror—the stranger’s red-dirt scabland against the cream of her cheeks, a necessary clash.
she cuts some tomatoes & tries to associate it w/ a human heart—tries to imagine the possibility of having her own heart, the qualifications for ownership. she stuffs the tomatoes inside a cow’s heart, ties it up, places it in a brown bag. she is at a loss for resemblance—unsure if the tomatoes were more convincing outside of a heart-shaped thing.
2. when the relic-less angel w/ wine or bloodstained lips comes to my apartment, she knocks on the door. she asks me a series of questions: what does god look like/why is the moon following me/how do you get a mother/where is my mother.
I know none of these answers. She lays on the couch, buries her head in my lap. I ask her where these questions came from. she throws the paper bag on the wall. the heart falls out from the bottom—I eat the cow heart in two bites. she is across the table & I wash the meat down w/ a glass of milk. she asks me her questions again. I hand her the empty brown bag & escort her out of my house.
& when I fall asleep that night, I dream I place a gold-foiled prayer card in a vat of water, stick it in the freezer & sit at the kitchen table, reading a magazine.
Kristen Brida is an MFA candidate at George Mason University, where she teaches composition. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Glass: a Journal of Poetry, Bone Bouquet, The Round, and elsewhere. She’s currently the assistant editor for So to Speak. She tweets at @kissthebrida.