Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 61

Sweet Gnash peter laberge for M.S. Tonight, the mind is an animal refusing to numb between the slender jaws of Arizona. No sweet mirage ending with a line of wild blooms. No toed rope between here and Arizona. For this memory I work the small ghost he left in my skin, before he left my skin for Arizona. By day the sun fills the fields with sienna, the color I’d call death if death were a field in Arizona. I tell myself skin does not taper like memory, that skin has more purpose than to separate God from Arizona. Sometimes, I touch the places he hasn’t left—only facing away from mirrors, only while rain stuns Arizona. Sometimes, the mind is good as a box of spines. What use are words when bodies speak fluent dust in Arizona? I empty my mouth of permanence, this sweet open mouth of its scorpion tail, its unknowable Peter, its Arizona. Previously appeared in Columbia Poetry Review 61