These are the words of a woman in metamorphosis.
Listen to this: even as I stand before you
now, strands of chaos appear – gouged from fertile
ground and hovering in the signature salsa
of smoke and waves. Siren sounds form within
sediment and rebound against red canyon walls.
I sing: I smother their ancient imprint.
I weather slopes to gravel when I lengthen
my stride. I gather my pride like prairie
petticoats, hopscotch across branded obstacles
with the mad passion of Rasputin. My faithless
fervor forges fevers beneath my skin.
I emit ceaseless heat when I sleep, leave
my lovers singed. I once fell into bed
with Jesse James: he ran his calloused hands
across my hips, we laid awake. By morning,
his fingerprints were entirely erased. He came
back once a month. There was no stench this way,
he explained, and less pain than by flames – but
not by much. The first few times, he couldn’t
help crying. I tried to ease his shame: kissed
his moist cheeks until his tears boiled away
on my lips. One day, he was gone. He left me
the dog, a stack of old magazines, and the taste
of slightly-charred salt: a lesson in love. Test me.
Press me against a wall and see what Houdini
bequeathed to me – I will disappear before your eyes!
I can escape even this scarred flesh, recast my shape
in some new place. I am an evolution in grace; an assault
against invented space and history’s baggage. I will relate
to you the sidereal revolutions that spin beneath language.
I will turn the pages of your retrograde stasis, or exist within
the raised gauges of your perspective, as glib as change.
I will scorch your heart with one embrace.