On a small hill grew a bullhorn rose.
It was making no pronouncements.
Beyond the hooded moon, the stars would not
unleash their light. My fingers
cold with summer could not button
my shirt. The fingers had been
No curtains hung
between where it happened and hadn’t. The man
I worked with looked at me,
shrewd. He’d seen
my dull face. His neck veins
tightened. He flipped
something grill-wise, said
I’ll kill him.
The absent-me wrung out
a rag, turning away from the sink,
away from the wall, flat
as a hand pressed over a mouth.
—It was air that had forced me down,
pinned me, heaved till I
became little of a self
with a little thought:
Check for blood regardless.
Flat in parking lot dirt I turned
for orientation, eye to eye
with something glinty—rim misshapen,
half-sunk metal. I could be
only to flowers and birds,
fields and fields and fields of them.
(could he be a he—a being—what he
what could be only
Like air: memory
Memory: like air
I walk through and
It hangs and hangs and hangs—
not bell, not noose.
A case of walking paralysis.
A case of can’t-report.
at the shack, the tree. Nothing
to-pull, are you ready
in the lot
where I could not
Shock me past
the blacking out.
Shock me awake—
speak for the mouth-that-was-mine,
for the voice, triple-strapped
in its jacket, marching on.
Copyright © 2017 Alessandra Lynch
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.