One day soon you’re going to break my back.
My ribs will open like an egret’s wings,
my flesh a tangle of ruffled feathers in the breeze
festered by their beating. My heart
a gentle beak sifting through dust
to find the last seeds of grass on a dying world;
like an old woman turning her head round
and round as she circles a tub in the center of the room,
held in orbit by its gravitational
pull, searching for a bar of soap
that whittled to nothing against the knife
of her flesh several-odd billion years ago.
I, having consumed all the trees with a wink
and drank all the waters with a straw
made of your tallest buildings, breathe
in clouds heaving against the bottom
of the stratosphere and smoke them out
again to burn donut-shaped holes
into the ozone. A fever leans
against my neck, framed as it is in a robe
made of your blue sky. My children buried
in the Earth wait for the burnt caramel
of their backs to be exposed
so they can inhale the heated air
through their pores and pour
it out their fingertips, burrowed deep.
Pumped full of air, the mantle
will expand and balloon out, the remnants
of humanity clinging to the bottom of the wicker basket
as we float through the galaxy on a wind
the gods have birthed as my sister and given no name.
On your last day
I watched you hold her hand,
walk down empty streets torn asunder
like shallow cuts made gaping by a stranger’s
careless fingers. You both tiptoed along those open
fault lines like they were the grooves in God’s fingerprint,
you pretended that the fire lighting the sky
with orange and red was the sun coming closer, in awe
of the simple way you walked in tandem. You imagined
that the press of your hands,
the joining of your invisible souls,
wasn’t the easiest thing in the universe to separate–
memory in this new world more fragile than human skin.
I lifted it from your minds and watched you release
each other of your own volition, and wonder why
you had been touching in the first place.