one possible formula for grief
is spacetime multiplied by concentrated wounds.
Time stretching, or would you call
that something else?
There are two celestial deer running, speed
irrelevant, past the first window on the right.
Their spindly legs loping so fast through the stars.
At your funeral,
snorting little white lines in the bathroom
is splitting my pain with a prism.
Dirt is falling softly from the ceiling.
So, I know I’m still in the wrong time,
but this might be where I change twice forever.
On the night you died,
I played your last voicemail again and
I can hear a future without you.
I either snorted the coke in the smaller room
across from the big room. Or I didn’t.
Your body is in the big room.
Grief multiplied by mold along the door jamb.
I leave finger nails in the mossy oak I scratch.
Along this hallway, I find myself in a permanent state of
looking. Dead roots, dry grass,
my screaming in your coffin
where I wake nightly.
So, I know I’m only the memory.
Understand this: I am final time lapse,
A mirror under powder.
Self-Portrait as Trickster Tale
[ by Kern River, I meet her
coyote bones twisting – her breath bloody and nostalgic
she floats to me
– in a tonic of secrets:
surrender to this muddy riverbed where you have sat – trembled – pushed your tiny grinding fingertips – to lick salt from the sand –
I don’t recognize my own humanity,
Not even when coyote presses me against reflective stone – Not even when I scream my curses to the waning moon – Not even when I crush my hungry ancestors with my vulnerabilities – Not even when I drink their velvet worms – Not even when I lift the flesh from my bones, revealing my rotten marrow –
Not even when I offer coyote seven soul devotion – one decade of weeping beetle
coyote her eyes like gooseberries her hunger alive and dancing whispers
remember – remember how they hated – stories they told – the legend you have become howl it
into that ugly night – learn to live alone and together – conjure lanterns in the dark
with your tears—
honor your heart
– over the machine.]
Shelby Pinkham is a queer, Chicanx poet from the Central Valley. She has served as an assistant editor for The Normal School and is currently an editor for Rabid Oak. She is an
MFA student at Fresno State and her work can be found in [PANK] and bee house journal.
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