when steam enters her vowels

the sticks are placed

just so. she turns to

the exact page, adjusts

the heat, remembers her

ancient mind bubbling.

pictures emerge. from

vowels. specific O’s

of openings. howlings.

consonants retreat.

crucifixion absorbs.

forgiveness forgets.

the cave ranges into

ravines green with greed,

longing. she punches 3

holes into her notebook

complete with recipes and

knocking. in one corner—

the farthest—she collects

all the uniforms she has

known—those worn and un

worn—and begins to worry:

the boring stuff first,

then the idling. above

the dark rim of red

bowling, she adjusts the

ladle. for scooping.

the heat rises like

the rings of Saturn. you

can see them parsing

the consonants of truth,

the one howl of night,

the dark brown breath of

O. it pinches pain—

the heat. yields hope. fails

desire, an aching hunt

to linger. where pine forests

dress her sapphire memory.

test her coasted love. stir

the sticks. she waits. for

the blueprint. the one

who sings on the 25th floor

swaying. he wanders into

the cooking—a snakecrawlsteam

departed before birth,

thus fixing her longing,

his nerve. along the coastal

front—the wide highway—

ten pine trees shade their

fixation. he longs to speak.

you must try to save us. he says

no. she says.

not that only.

not this time.

oh. he says.

the waves beat out

their vowels. this language

of heat, despair, intrusion.

wherever they are not. are.

do not feel sorry for them.

please feel sorry for them.

those two curling under

liquid masks hitched

to skyscrapers and trees.

when steam enters her vowels

off the cave floor,

he inscribes his ruby

replete with forgiving.

she desires to speak,

her breath fluttering deep

in that deep green snake, glowing,

permanently removing the boundary

from her desire

to this voice rising. O

waves curling

Originally published in Guillinna on Four Wheels by Sandra Squire Fluck. Available on Apple Books and Amazon Kindle.

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