there's a girl who's always been inside of me.
I sometimes glimpse her in the mirror,
in puddles and compacts and display windows.
She’s the kind of girl who writes secrets in the night sky,
using the stars for braille,
& guides your fingers over their hot skins,
trying to teach you how to read.
She never understands why you burn.
she writes names like prayers on her skin,
likes the poetry of poisoning her body.
Says it’s the only way she'll let people hurt her.
Likes scars with stories, graffiti of all sorts,
things that leave a mark.
She likes the smashed cyborg faces
of cars after accidents, likes
to see their inner parts.
She takes the pulse of her turn signal,
two fingers on its very tip, &
marvels at the mechanical life
she could so easily end.
She's always speeding at least five miles over the limit,
always has the windows down.
Says nature's the best AC, but really she
likes to be grounded by the wind in her hair,
likes to feel how fast she's going,
to pretend that she's a bullet or a comet or a god.
She insists on carrying heavy things, cold things, sharp things,
on feeling the bite and ache of them.
Jokes that it's a kind of penance for living,
an offering for the privilege of breathing, of eating, of heart-beating.
She wants to feel the sin of it.
She goes to communion monthly.
Doesn't believe, but has a Catholic heart
and trusts in the power of water, guilt, a mother's love.
Says she wants intoxication from the wine, not absolution,
but cries when she sees stained light.
She likes control, likes boundaries.
Most hearts have four chambers; hers is a church
but when she lets you in, you're never in her sanctuary,
only a layer deeper in her honey-catacomb heart.
She's a labyrinth luring
sacrifices to a dead end.
She's a goddess of grays,
doorways and in-betweens.
She's a scared child
who doesn't understand herself.
She glints behind my eyes
when my breath is thick with kisses
and sweetness/deepens my voice,
makes it honeyed wine.
She rips out, wrings out
her own heart to make me happy.
She steps back, knows that,
of the two of us,
I'm the one the world won't destroy.
Tonight, you can almost see her in the shadows of the stage lights,
all wrapped up in the undertones of my hair,
but if you shift
if you blink....