I break character through dynamic vocals and stray fingertips. The beach looks like me, sometimes: grainy, abundance of free speech, unintentionally waterlogged. But you, you live green: soiled, unrooted, an unexpected baptism in nature. Thirty times over. A clashing multiple of prints, seared and stained and loving, all working through the same tangles just to find what’s left in a woman. To find what’s left in a body. The marks of a hungry grip, the remains. Flora and fauna. What it looks like, and what was left when the branches could strain no longer and the cradle gave way. Don’t be confused, there is overlap in pronged limbs that clamp, remain steady, and try — only splintered joints would break their efforts — to pry this eternal something or other sticking in the wrong spot, internally. A steady twitch, the new rhythm or jammed up pieces of flotsam seeking channels. No space to expand your lungs. I can’t breathe.
(I can’t breathe, I can’t speak, I can’t see, I can’t remember. I can’t remember. He remembers. I was gone, I was dropped. There is no more upright, only stumbling on bound toes, an amateur, matted satyr. There are stones lodged between my ribs and I can’t breathe.)
In empty air maybe you find mastery. You can ask for more, but that’s expecting a lot, right?
This is your justice: piles of questions and sparse belongings to pick up when you leave. Watching your skin slough off under running steam and containment that pushes both ways – in and out, debris in equilibrium. You didn’t deserve this. They should’ve left you back there, now it’s dry rot on the outside, walking free without so much as a tender hand to brush off the pine. Six hands to fill one paper bag. Three months to the rest of your life. An unbalanced equation. And nobody to tell you what to do next.
Take whatever personal items are left, the ones rendered inert in deforestation. Pieces of bronze, rubber, and cotton. It’s a hard suggestion to bury something with dirt still under your nails. There may be no hole deep enough. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? You could carry what’s left, twisted into new form, aggrandize the cracks with gold or something more molten. You can own it or cast it off.
It should be your choice.