The night is an extension cable for the princess’s skinship. The retro thrusters are the mission on ice. The mission started out metaphorically but it turned into a real live trip. If it weren’t for swallowed swords and skatebolts, the mission wouldn’t have succeeded. The princess would be left without skin. Without skin we are so much wetter, it is so much more difficult to pretend our bones are white. Bones—real bones—are so many colours: vermillion, rainbow, forever clementine. We pretend they are white, because white is the colour of ghosts. But my bones are not dead yet & the night stretches on.
You mean all this time we could have been friends
is a hard tack to swallow, but who among us has never
held a pin between our teeth? Sometimes there are hems
and sometimes it makes sense and I confess: I’m a
sucker for the death bed reconciliation. Sometimes I can’t
tell if my grudges are too thick or barely enough to keep
myself warm. Am I the bent branch in a strong gust or too stiff
for ballerina shoes? You know, they say an optimist
is someone who does the same thing over and over again
and expects different results. Well, I have always
preferred butter to the bread’s lonely side, but I lied,
they didn’t say that at all. All this time we could have been
playing dead instead of snagging hooks in the septic pool,
praying we’ll come up carp. They say if there’s blood in the sink,
it’s already time to stop spitting, but even an iron rod can
believe in happy endings. I confess: I’m a sucker, again
and again, so I'll close my teeth tight this time,
and pray for my lungs.
She is an axe. No, she is a penknife, folded in your pocket. No, she is the needle threaded with bright red string. When she moves through the world, she leaves a trail behind her. Fat stitches, almost medical in tone.
She is pop music. She is the bad-for-you riff, the one that’s stuck in your teeth. She is singing in the shower again. You go to wash and there are wiry red threads stuck in the soap, in the curtain. Snags, spelling every letter of your name.
She is a door. She is oiled hinges and a golden latch. She is the letter you regret as soon as it’s posted. Your fingers open and she falls into the fat yellow belly of the box. Trouble, says a voice from the dark.
She is candy. She came up from the underworld to bring you six seeds. She gives you a hall pass with someone else’s name. When they catch you, there’s no get out jail free. But it feels good, the snick of metal on wrists.
You are tempted. You have never been able to spell penitence anyway. You follow the string, the letter, the melody. The postman is whistling the bad-for-you-riff, so good in the sunlight, what could possibly go wrong?
She is not an axe. She has never been a penknife, you can not fold her. She is a woman, and she tells you, You? You are a fool.
Bad Girl’s got a dick silhouette in tight white jeans. Bad Girl don’t care. We take a trip to the lake out of town, sticking dinosaurs in all the subway doors. U8 gets the T Rex, U7 the Steg, but it’s the Ring that really wins: Velociraptors all the way down.
This started out as a love story. This started out about the twitch of flesh in denim, have you ever seen anything so magnificent? It is a million snowglobes stuffed with damp pink rose petals, a leopard in flames, tiaras in the oilslick at dusk.
I would sink a machete in the shagflesh of mammoths, I would slay the meteor with one flat palm, if it meant a replay of the dicktwitch before dinner. Before we suck out garlic snails and dunk into the lake’s popsicle blue.
In the subway car, I whisper smutfilth in Bad Girl’s ear. I am a bad influence and a hot commodity and a witch with puppeteer’s spells. I say things that make the dinosaurs blush—even Clever Girl, even after all that she’s done.
The meteor misses earth by less than the width of Glasgow. They say the mammoths will be resuscitated, but that’s not my concern. I am practicing tongue magic on Bad Girl’s neck. Bruises bloom like flowers in my mouth.
Bad Girl won’t stand up in the station. Bad Girl squirms, says her shirt’s too short, she shouldn’t have worn these jeans. I am triumphant. We keep riding, throats thick with giggles. Sooner or later, the Ring’ll take us back where we belong.
Hey there riverchild, have you forgiven your monsters
yet? The trickster bits that sit by banks, ready to wrestle.
Slick with carniverous mischief. Feed her a cucumber
or take her to the horse stall—make her apologise in writing
if you must. Or just remember that we’ve all drowned
cows when we’re lonely, just remember that we’re both
talking in all carps this time. Salamander and koi trickle
between our fingers, so pluck a kimono from the water