ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF A LOVER’S DEATH
When Death sends flowers, I slash
off the heads with rusty scissors.
Sometimes living things arrive
cold at the door. This time, peonies. Red
as a fresh organ. I cut the stems in every
direction, shred petals to pulp. Isn’t that always
what we’re doing here? Shearing the pretty thing
from its root? Slicing down the recognizable
until we see its parts eviscerated?
I stuff them back in the oblong box
they came in with a note—fuck yourself.
I don’t send it. Instead I light them on fire
and watch smoke pour from the mouth
of the thing, that mashed up casket of soft
red matter, that fire eating through the floor.
Dear C, I dropped
your sentence in hot water.
I talked to the boil. I said Here
is my thumb for you to burn.
Here is the soft heart
of my hand and my arm and
the nape of my wreck.
I said vapor, just take me.
I’m done burning
with these pages. Being invisible
doesn’t mean a person
won’t blister, doesn’t mean
the blisters won’t fill
with pockets of water
or when lanced the rawest flesh
won’t emerge. First the word
then the murky leak
begins—what another mind
may scrape against
but never skin.