In your story
I am the harbinger of doom;
I am namely a naked body
in your room.
Or a ghost.
Or a sound drowned out by rain.
On your page I am made
no more than the sum
of my parts.
In each one of your retellings,
you rebuild the breasts,
but not the heart.
I mean, I envy your precision,
but I’d hardly call it art.
Two nuns in their habits
undress slowly, facing away from the cross.
They do not speak.
Every inch of their bodies belongs to God
— every wrinkle, every sag,
They wonder, silently, how much of Him
they have consumed —
flesh to tongue, His blood wrung
as juice in their wanting mouths.
As old as they are, it never fails to surprise them
how much of faith requires consumption.
Maybe, standing in the dark,
After all, they have been consumed completely.
After all, there is nothing left of them
— not even their bodies —
not even in the dark.
This is how to throw yourself
to the wolves.
First, render your body meat;
Second, do not bite back,
or be alarmed at
how dark your blood is
against their teeth.
Let the bones break
like the sweet pop of pearls
remember, you are doe,
Remember, you are gift,
you are meat;
on their tongues
– eyes rolled back,
I gave my body away like a gift wrapped in newspaper
— impulsively —
wanting nothing more than to see your face at the moment of opening.
I’m sorry if I disappointed you.
If you expected my heart to be a Hallmark card rendering,
and not the cut of muscle you now hold in your hands
— beating, still
— bleeding, still.
Maybe you wanted something not made of teeth,
or hair, or nails.
Maybe I shouldn’t have skinned myself
thinking every lover would want to trace my veins
like rivers leading to open shores —
maybe you just wanted something more
Like a poem.
But even my poems were like being brought bones
and not knowing what to do with them.
It’s okay that you didn’t know what to do with them.
I never did either.
I apologize for the waste;
that beckons circling vultures to land.
I apologize for my hands;
too meek to separate bone from meat
and eat it all.
I still want — I still want.
And the birds call,