The sky shifted its weight towards the horizon
and the masts of sailboats slipped under
I went to honey bloom
& I fed the wings to an imaginary star.
Could you meet me there? on the star?
In this after-life, I wear something other than my body:
a clear dress with all my organs
swimming where you can see.
We scraped away what was awful
and tried to cling to what was left
with our soft teeth and belligerent questions.
That type of dusk in the suburbs —
it hurts your chest, doesn’t it?
You need to walk home now, but it
is so far away. You should have figured
out the bus schedule. Can you let me know
if you see me in the future? Am I okay?
I feel confused about how to handle
the current weather. It comes down like the crux
of a lever. The insides of a pelican shudder
and love letters fall out. We gather them up
and hold them to our lips. They smell like sun
and roses. Remember? this is how beautiful
and simple our insides are? It’s, like, not even
that hard to make up.
I want to soothe the sayer. The woman
who writes the books that are impossible.
Reconstructed from the rib
of a whale. Reconstructed from
the rib-bone’s back. The bone
is soot returned to darkness, embers
touched with blood: turned blue, turned black.
The book barely fits. Bits of skin and flesh
and hair spill over. “like trash.”
But: “it’s so cute!”
Tugging on our garments.
And: “ if not this, what?”
But everything is over all the time anyway.
The city is a head of fossils
help up by
whale bones, plants, glyphs dismembering
the air, snipping the sky in half.
Mechanical owls of the afterlife
smoothing the ripped cloth, warm birds of heaven
like so many hands singeing the air
with burnt fingerprints.
What a ghost would want.
The shore hurts
like a bruised arm. You walk
there mending the seams, making us see (sea): the shattered
mirrors — stars — frothing in star-tips –waves
of milk, the sea (see). & we are there.
Together. Already. But Hiding.
From each other. Always. In plain sight.
Michelle Detorie is the author of numerous chapbooks including Fur Birds (Insert Press), How Hate Got Hand (eohippus labs), and Bellum Letters (Dusie). She also makes visual poems, poetry objects, time-based poetry, and curates the public art project, The Poetry Booth. Her first full-length collection, After-Cave, is just out with Ahsahta Press.