Thursday, March 1, 2018


Body of the Whale
 
 Burnt, engraved
slipped for weeks walking on
a shallow incline. I could not choose
my steps or wear anything but out-worn shoes.
I could only be this one way and pray
I was not being deceived.
 
After many falls and aching ankles, thumb-joints, landing-joints,
and my tears in constant flow, I decided not to move,
stay as a sunken root, let the mud flood
around me, driving me deeper into the stench.
 
Fears like a cord tied to my feet, tugging me down where even
undulation ceased and it was cold and simple, without cause
or mercy or chance of escape.
 
I am at the bottom, somehow still myself.
There are strange translucent reptiles brushing
at my extremities. No way to eat and no breath left to be had,
under here in this lightless territory, not much different
than the depths of space, than the place I was first born.
 
But there, I was one with the darkness, and the stillness of void
was tender, womb-like, all I knew. I will find that again here,
 
stop resisting, diffuse, painfully, but with the least amount
of rebellion or horror - dissolve like candy floss in a child’s
mouth until I join the blank weight digestive track,
welcome the bottom feeders and the algae pocket swirls
as my own flesh, until there is nothing left of me but this indent bed,
the space inside this bed that keeps my body. And soon
even that will fold over, coalesce, as though it never was.
 
I was a daughter. I am not anymore. I was waiting
on a personal love, rescue like a clean wave coming to
liquidate my mind. I am not waiting anymore.
I have no strength for hope, no heart
to withstand the hurt.
I break a part and I gather, honoring
the end of my pulse and its reign.
 
 Love is our master
 
The tone resonated the red heat
of a sea of lava burning away the dead cells,
activating a living substance. We held
hands, walking in the deserted late-December streets.
Ours is nobody’s but ours - broken train tracks carried,
dropped, put back together. The lapping wind of the spirit
like a bell in the far distance, calling us here, there
and always home.
 
Your pockets are full of roots, ones
you chopped from the ground, left there with no tree
or shrub to source its life out to. But those roots still thirst,
so you place them in a high jar in our bedroom, tend to them,
give them the attention of your brilliant mind, hurting
for their inadequacies. I love you deep in the hole and in
the twilight of an open summoning space or when locked
in desire, the two of us, giants without chains - the illusion of
isolation shed, heroes to each other’s loneliness, and the rising
of our blood that has no ancestry, no pastlives or this life before.
 
We are the keepers of this conversation. You are the place where
all my ships land, in the infinity of your eyes, a strong arrow spark
of awe-striking connection, where underground tunnels are excavated.
We are a perfect rub and flow, and we flow, fingers
over the tender inner thigh, mouths
braving more than kisses. We built a bridge and we crossed it,
holding hands, watching each other’s back. We take off our shoes,
a field is before us.
 
All animals are gorgeous, each with a full and necessary soul.
Animals peer out from behind the curtain of high trees
lining the field, waiting for us to run. We run
and twirl and lay down in laughter, like we once did long ago.
We are good just as we are. We are one at the knees and at the core.
Hell and the moaning of withheld mercy is far behind us,
we have been devoured and we dissolve -
our shells and our centers, seasoned, spring-woven,
what is ours, what is God’s, combined, surrendered.

 Commitment
 
Take the end of the root and
squeeze. Air is not wind or
a wave. Gazing into the darkest of eyes,
needs forgotten in the tale
of becoming something more than shape,
someone more than someone who rocks
in despair or madness.
 
I held you with my
mind and in my arms, held you broken and stoic
as all dangerous dreams. I was afraid to tell you
but I told you anyway and the song grew into a sunset.
 
Eaten by gravity, blurring in potency as it traveled
past the horizon. I saw
you were the willow tree, the pine tree and the birch
that scattered leaves and seeds throughout the large acreage yard.
I was a raccoon, a beetle bug and a tiny bird.
I moved through you, across you,
made my home inside of you. Can you see
how much of what was mine depended on yours?
When the yard caught on fire,
the fire seeped into my joints, extending into my aura
and all your seeds around me of brown and green.
 
Not a single day when I did not fight to keep your will and commands,
not a day without struggle to keep afloat, keep at bay the urge to
sink or draw the ravenous sharks near and nearer until
they touched - fin against my flesh and then something
sharper.
 
You love me you say, but it is a love
I cannot understand. I know it is a love, colossal, ruthless
in its perfection but it hurts like withholding, hurts
as I try to adore you and be absolved by a mutual tenderness.
You are final and in this I have no say. I love you, but we are not
dancing. I trust you, but we are not
sharing with ease. I am left aching, in sharp
icicle-tip-pounding-lack, struggling to make sense and find “the law”
if there is no mercy to be seen.
 
I should be lucky to know you even as I do, as most
walk the Earth without discovering a trace of your existence.
But is there something new for us?
Is there a bouquet around the corner? A line we can cross and keep
on the other side? I give you my wings, my prints
and all of my sacred stones. Take me
into your softness or leave me here
on these barren sharp ridges. Between us,
there are no secrets, even my children
are freely yours.


Allison Grayhurst

Opening a Vein I’m filling out thank you cards to the women who have cheated on me, showing my gratitude for cutting me s...