I assemble flapping into a mechanical bird.
I replace the breathing ones with stuffed ones and suffer an applause of wings. Reach between the roost to feel compressed as they look. And O hovering ellipses: our hands cannot suppress the unbelievable synchronization of bee wing and lawn mower. We enter a playing field: molecules of water vs. molecules of water. We construct viable diagrams of living: a reversible motor heart. We test drive baby palates and consider them unsuitable for the farm. Inside each of us, three small red cells break in half until we cocoon in jars and wait to be watched. We prepare for peoplery: fall into pitch with darkness. Photograph after photograph we freeze images of a bullion cube dissolving. Skip death by lining the trees with ornaments of plastic bags. I assemble the deli counter into a whelping box and we all breed unanimously in a convenience store.
There was a diary I used to tell bad things to but one day it blew
Off half of my face and I had to tell everyone how I was feeling
So as not to risk writing anything down that could become explosive
And take my hand or an eye. I kept this diary for proof. Its skeleton
Sits in a glass vase tinted red for the effort of my face. I kept this diary
So generations upon generations of Clara’s will know how to let their
Emotions out like the pale laundry flapping erratically on the line.
I want a souvenir for all the bitches I’ve been.
I want everyone to imagine each sliver of sound coming from my mouth
To be an ancient iron ball tousled with daggers.
I flushed the necklace down the toilet Andres.
I was not sorry. A bent silver heart zirconia
And I wore it on the inside of my shirt so it hung out when bent
Over you & so to pull it before you came.
A field glazes orange.
Everglades recede to prairie.
Hung like a bell clapper on my clavicle I screamed
Ring me, me. Horses don’t stop running
Even when foam flowers on their hides.
We were making tea and people.
Told you Andres, I’d crossed you to observe the shape
Of eyebrows when angry.
In the snow, it was the snow
That kept me driving for hours to your body.
Out of you Andres,
I built the dry and crackling Andes.
Dear Jack, your heart will break—
They’ve injected the cows again.
They’re growing up so beautiful & spotless
Sickless, fat. We could float one all the way to Florida.
A van on a cow’s back or a mother on a van
On a cow’s back. I’m sure you’d approve
Of my hair, the style I’m wearing & wish I could hold
Your hand to my forehead. Why?
I am your child. Your elegant disciple of crickets
That storm when flushed from their lairs.
Jack I match the hissing & black snake you pulled from your mouth.
I’ve been coiled like a tiny fetus & inside of my fetus
Is a long vowel and a pine tree.
I have one corpse to show you Jack.
It is yours.
When you said dear Lorca, I knew
You were addressing the father you never had.
The father you never had.
Jack your name is spelled with four letters.
Two of them make the same sound.
Two of them make the same sound.
Only a tarantula knows for sure.
That kind of fear.
I wanted to be a woman but ended up a woman. That kind of fear
Was circumstantial. With certainty I pulled rabbits
From my throat like a magic trick.
I pulled and pulled until the lowest pit
Put forth a diamond and was dirty
From waiting. That kind of fear,
Of glowing. The man that grabbed me
On the subway. For days shame I carried like a lung.
For days and shame.
He did not breathe.
Inside of herself Clara built this gorgeous time bomb.
Each one had a father and a father’s father. It was the most popular
Time bomb in its high school. All the other time bombs
Were jealous and parked their bombs outside of her house
And scared away her friends. They blew up her family.
Their fires melted the car. They killed the family dog. All of the time bombs in the world
Soon made pilgrimages and blew up on their great great great great great
Grandfather’s blow up spot. They returned each year to their family X
And more and more blew away or imploded. Every time a bomb came
It was louder and bigger than the last. The smaller ones combined with smaller ones
To become medium sized or large. They too blew themselves up.
No one could keep it together. No one knew what would happen if they didn’t blow up,
They had been doing it so long—
It was so simple one of them said one day. Don’t blow up. Cold turkey don’t blow up.
And thus a small fire of doubt was built but the time bombs found they could
Remain in one place longer and longer without losing
Any part of themselves.
I was in that well too. We didn’t want the light to show our skin
What wasn’t human. And we wanted velvet, more velvet
Which could be darkness disguised as velvet. I wanted a way
To show you I could build a globe of spit and sticks
And it would sustain life, a life like ours if we had been born
So many years before. Enter, the chickens disguised
As men and the men disguised as dugongs and the dugongs
Disguised as dead dugongs to throw the hunters from their trail.
The well would open from time to time and someone threw particles
Of dust into the light and we would grab at them like they were crumbs
Of food and we would push them to our lips.
Christie Ann’s chapbook, idiot heart, was selected by Brenda Shaughnessy for The New School Chapbook Competition in 2008. She is the coauthor of a chapbook that is forthcoming with The Corresponding Society Press and her work can be found or is forthcoming in Sink Review, La Petite Zine, Blaze Vox, Pax Americana and others. Christie Ann has an MFA from The New School and teaches at Hofstra University.