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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.

Pinkham - Author Photo.JPEG

deathcap is Coven Editions' online literary mag featuring a curated collection of poetry, fiction and community pieces.  Review our Submissions Guidelines for more information if you are interested in contributing to deathcap.

© 2020 Coven Editions

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