Don’t fucking look at me. I’m not here for you,
hobble-scotched, limping through the house,
child crying, always a child crying, in the background.
Even this daft dog, barking. I’m lonely
and nobody listens. Listen. Listen, I said.
Then I stopped saying. I recessed. I grabbed
two sheaves of dry hair and pretended
to be a witch. I pretended to be the CEO
of a drug company selling the public
contin-coated morphine. Just take an 80mg pill.
Just take a 160. I pretended I was a queen
waiting to be beheaded by an impotent king
who couldn’t even show his face at the trial,
who hid away with his new young lover.
Had I fucked my own brother? In the pretend,
I couldn’t say, though I knew each stone
in the tower wall. I pretended I could raise
the dead. Who first? My friend, the addict.
My ex, the addict. My grandfather, the addict.
Go back down, down. Enter the underworld
on a leaky elevator, and who is there waiting?
Nothing. Nothing. Be numb. Benumbed, I did
not raise myself. I am no redheaded Plath,
gobbling men like hot oxygen, though I want
to be. I’m not scribbling limericks, trying to rhyme
dildo with mildew or tulip with cunt.
In the thirteenth month of the pandemic
I pressed my children to my breast, though I’m no
wolf come to nurse them. I’m no queen
of the underworld, either, though I too
long to disappear in winter, to go down
with the stones and secret rivers. I’m not a fluorescent
light or a light chime to signify nullification.
Be blank. Absent. Nothing. I’m not the dominatrix.
I’m not the lover. I’m not mooney Eurydice,
but if I was I’d say my Orpheus swung and swung.
He went down first. Gird the underworld
with tulips (with cunts). Gird it with crabapple blossoms
and a child who won’t listen to me. When I am nothing
I will lie on the ground, eyes closed, and let
my grief fall from my feet like lead. As we were dead
and no one bothered to come. As I raised them,
then put them back, and said Don’t move a muscle.
Stay put. Don’t turn your head. You’re dead.
You’ve always been dead. You’re a hole in a rotten
man’s head; a band of ligatures at his neck.
You’re a tailpipe so hot it burns a brain right out.
You’re the stars turned off. You’re dead. Stay dead.
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