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A Burning

Ali when you popped in that David Gray CD this morning and that plaintive, yearning song come on, the one I first heard 8 years ago, while speeding through rural Redmond fields at 6:45 am, on my way to horticulture school, I felt my own sighing heart pull up a chair to your table. That song will now always signify my long-held torch for you.

When you lean into the armrest in your truck, inches away from my hungry shoulder, and your weathered little freckled hands dangle over the edges of things, I imagine my toes curled around the rim of a precipice. I am suspended bat-like, arms folded like the Hanged Man of my tarot deck. The blood rushes to my head and pounds a swollen rhythm behind my eyes and unlike the Hanged Man, I am not serene.

I am a hula dancer with bound legs. I am prim and tight control when what I really want to do is gyrate and howl like a lunatic and pretzel around and around and around you. Ali I burn for you. Ali I am burning for you.

And we can’t name it, we can’t break the ambiguity that cloaks us because you rattle magnetic to the broken ones. You are the Mender. But I am intact already. I don’t need mending. I want to be a drag queen for you—all fabulousness, all glitter, all wonderland. And then I want to hold the ceramic shards of your years and cradle them, glance the sharp edges along the spider-veined underside of my tongue and taste the saltmarsh and copper of my body’s response. Because I do not faint at the sight of blood, Ali! I am softness and grit, Ali. I am bare feet on gravel. I can take it.

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Poet and Tarot Reader, specializing in Water Cartography
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