Rose Auslander

It

better keep its hands
to itself, better not
slit your wrists &
say you did—no,

it won’t admit
trouble
sleeping, won’t look
in the mirror,
will hold
no dew, no
slow afternoons,
or home or tide
swirling or otherwise,
would rather explode—oh it
refuses to feel
the wind on its cheek,
mouth
hanging open
crying out, it
denies pain, my dear,
it will watch you
eat your heart
as if anyone
would know,
don’t say I love you,
pant at its feet,
call it sweetheart
call it what you want,
its teeth
will etch
its face
in your body,
look
its seeds float
in the air
you breathe,
root in your hair,
it is twilight
sleep, the coyote
ripping your neck,
your eye
watching—please

may it sweat
from you, may it
sweat
from your pores.

no telling

it vibrates

flat then sharp
pain

in my own flat-
chested voice

& carrion flower says

ssssshhh
lie still
smell hot dirt let yourself
root down below
low enough
to warm you who cares
how deep it might reach up
in you don’t
picture horror show
tentacles let it
feed you earth water
swallow your toes rooting
into it like this taste it
let it hold your arms

&
plumped up

yeasty baked golden       steamy

in hunger for red

of berry, blood of lamb

it seasons me

in weeds & mud

until

softened, seeping  

 

I
become
frankincense,

almost. like
forgiveness
invisible, pure
sure
it
will be different
until
limp
I float
praying to god
to let me sink

& indifferent
slithering down

feeling        up
groping crudely inside

it rises
uproots

me       some tree       whatever       takes
what it will

bark       skin       hair       dirt       leaves

the floating thing

waking

its ashes inside me

lord knows why

maybe a breeze
from an open window

maybe I wake singing
just a note       maybe two &

it steps on my throat.
says smile.

in dreams sweating       poison down
my legs          kicking               talons
ripping, paunch bloating
pregnant with flesh it
licks. lips me. like
ice cream
says cream
on it. submit. let it rain in-
fection. be sticky, shiny. see-
through

if feverish remain
unspoken. curdling inside let it
slide in. & moan. the way
a woman moans pretend to sleep

let it

write my name       in stairwells & bathroom stalls
my holy unholy broken city / voice / song
beyond mending even with the finest gold       oh beautiful beautiful lucilla made money
from her body       so say the cloth launderers says the owl on the old urinal wall       so
broken beautiful I bend       I open

my skin still soft

don’t look

like I’m not

here, I can hear
myself singing

across the room—
come on now, watch:

men wade in,
breath seeping

through my floor—
see

look
the bonfire

in their eyes
no please don’t

mind the char.

rendered

its bony knees still
piercing

the soft spot
where my wings

would shiver if
I’d had strength

to push
it off,

oh

it loves
a good piggy—

Rose Auslander’s book Wild Water Child won the 2016 Bass River Press Poetry Contest; her chapbooks include Folding Water, Hints, and The Dolphin in the Gowanus and look for her poems in the Berkeley Poetry Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, Rumble Fish, RHINO, Carve Magazine, the Main Street Rag, and A & U: America’s AIDS Magazine. @rausland; facebook.com/rausland
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.

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