Secrets of my heart

she thought maybe she’d like to see
the secrets of my heart.
she thought she’d love what’s lying there,
beneath the pale white scar.
but peel back these walls of skin,
and pull my chest apart:
you’ll find a hollow socket now,
where once there lay my heart.

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Sweep the dust back

We sweep the dust back
into the cracks
between old oak floorboards.
Each day I see patterns in their
grains that point to
shapes, this time
rabbits and deer, like
pictographs on stone. One day the
permanent lines traced by
stress or insects
shift themselves like
candle-lit shadows and suddenly I see
two round, empty sockets in my floor.
Now I avoid that place
skip the room altogether most days,
avert my eyes if I have to walk through;
scared of their stare, so much
stronger than my own, so much more.

To Kill a Rabbit

I catch the rabbit by the back legs,
assess the prize,
savor the victory.
Any old dog would do the same.
Attempt a quick dislocation of the neck,
eyes still wide open,
no kicking fits,
worry that it’s not dead.
Go to string it up by the back legs, it
hangs and does not fight; slice the
artery and it does not bleed; sever the head and
realize it was already dead.
I hope that it would
thank me if it could.

Throw the head to the cats, who
yowl and scuffle and one wins out,
begins to gnaw on the ears.
They don’t imagine regret.
Tear the skin at the neck, start down the belly, find
fat deposits white and veined along the chest.
Move to the back, keep ripping skin,
strip the pelt too easily.
Back to the chest, the
fat goes all the way down the belly, it
does not act like fat,
I accidentally tear it and it spills
white milk that runs and mixes with the red blood on the
butchering table and I
stop breathing with you.
I understand at once,
slow down,
turn to the
setting sun in
agony.
If He really was,
I would curse His name.
I do so anyway.

And then I must finish.
It becomes even more important to finish. The
waste is incredible, it
weighs in my throat, it
beats at my temples, a
thousand rabbits sit on my chest,
I want to be able to cry.
But it must be finished.
The cats gather and I throw the mammary sacs down to them.
They growl and slurp at the sweetest milk,
perverted children,
while the deserving kits will starve.

Peel the skin backwards across her paws,
save her rabbits feet. The
cats come looking for more and I
throw them the pelt, too delicate to save.
Cut open the belly, pull out the insides,
relieved to find no pinkies inside, no wonder her
milk was so rich, her
glands so swollen.
I rinse the milk and blood from her body,
revel in the pinkness of the meat, she is
so beautiful.
Honor her as best I can with
herbs and it will
never be enough.

Spirit

You’ve felt it shivering its way into your shadows, a
spirit-being so physical that you’d swear it was just beside you, that
feeling like when you turn to see
who’s joined you at the table and find your
cat sitting there, wide-eyed black pupils eclipsing the face. This
almost-physical follows you everywhere,
bumps against the back of your knees,
knocks elbows,
clings to your neck,
piggy-back rides you,
drives the hunger from your body,
swallows your words before you speak them. When you ask your
friends about the spirit, they
smile and remind you that the storm is coming. You ask the
cashier at the grocery store if she can see it, and she gives you a
dazed smile. You’d swear she looks just past you.
Rain is on the way, she tells you as she hands you a receipt.
More than you can afford.
Clouds move over the hills and descend upon your home. The
spirit becomes restless; it
kicks the corners of your soul with
violent rabbit’s legs. The
trees wave their branches in
surrender at the quickening wind,
but they are still beat down.

Monstrous Thing

You have relations with the monstrous thing, a
moment’s respite from the malaise, the
torment in your gut, constant revulsion and
nerves on edge like little reptile
spines inside all of our limbs. I ground my
teeth together all night long while I heard the
sound of it, the clicking–it isn’t right,
nothing good clicks and chirps like that–and
worse for me not seeing
where the feelers traced
along your warm, dark skin; left to wonder about the
proboscis and how it would feel–
how it would feel to be you, I mean;
not once imagining any of it from the side of the
creature, because that would be more than my
heart could hold; that shade of grey is too
deep for my chest to keep in.
In twenty months, I will
watch them
devour you from the inside,
watch while you
become a sea of
infant monstrous things.