by KELLY ROSE PFLUG-BACK
fall upon me, quiet siege of day
let slip your rain of petals
your pale & baying hounds
that usher in the sun’s wild hunt.
dawn lets fall the night’s last fading shawls
& her body weeps with cut-glass jewels
thighs a blush of rose
behind the white-blond of ostrich plumes.
in the city I part my hair down the center like one of Ted Bundy’s victims
& write you letters in my head:
your beauty is the flight paths of migrating geese
whose silhouettes flap, transient
against my closed eyelids.
it is a godless country unmarred by the scourges of bullets
& it is no ones.
I cried enough to flood the Euphrates
remembering the soft curves of your body
black channels wending the root systems of briars
down my painted cheeks.
like all things are cosmetic
eyelids swollen fat with bruise
hinged black legs of spiders fish-hooked
at the corners of my mouth.
in my poverty I clung to such illusions
forgetting words and the placement of objects
names of whole cities.
my burning palms
my Shirtwaist fire
I would have sold everything to keep him
car stereos, cheap gold
engraved with strangers’ names
divided portions of my flesh
wrapped up in waxed brown paper
bound with packing twine.
in shop windows bodies hang
exhumed of the red, bunched fruit of organs
like the halved carapaces of spent missile shells
like grottoes to some bloody saint, left empty
with nothing in them.
I have seen the past, cleft like living waters before me
in the path of a black armada.
I have seen the future, & it is darkness pooling
in the hollow clavicles of children
the televised rape of nations
on the wings of flies.
every morning the streets fill with people
& I dream of pressing my lips
to the burst hyacinth of your mouth.
spring would thaw the ground
& we both would fill with life again
writhing with switch-tailed worms.
in my mind I am monstrous
lurching with my arms outstretched
through the brittle celluloid of film reels
staples glittering at the seams of my skull
my body a mess of scars
too ugly to fake.
I am sewn together from the flesh of many,
& we ache.
by KELLY ROSE PFLUG-BACK
You’re just the same, painting your little yellow stars:
tracing the rib cage of the bull with the toe of your boot
as rain collects in the hollows of your patchwork heart and lungs.
This is only time passing;
rain in the gutter and on the stiff bodies of dogs–
a thousand tiny hands against the window pane.
I watch my chest cavity fill up with washed and ironed yellow suns
as you put out street lights and the bodies of fireflies with your
wasted under the thousand shining points of Cassiopeia’s exposed viscera.
We’re being consumed without apology
by this dead field with it’s four churches,
it’s soft opera of torn paper caught in the back draft of gulls circling,
bringing sad news from home.
Pink eyed mice gnaw at my bones
while the dust clots dance with trace amounts of your ghost,
moving in time to the drunk staccatos of heart valves.
They plant themselves like spores
and sprout small white flowers, like the knuckle bones of dolls.
They grow even without light,
still thriving in the aftershock of your passing.
My Cruel Surgeon, my Anaesthetist
by KELLY ROSE PFLUG-BACK
He is no blunt instrument
no pantheon or high arcana
no periodic table of alchemical signs.
He is not the guttering of flames
in midnight slums of corrugated tin
or the dorsal fins of sharks.
He is not the house that I grew up in
or any one of the lost things
I cannot recover.
His face is not the calm repose of some patrician death mask.
His hands are not plaster casts of themselves.
He could be the frantic incandescence of lightning bugs
trapped inside mason jars
schematic diagrams of stars
algorithms for machines
that imitate life.
He could be thousands of miles away by now
in Ganonoque or New York
his palms still burning when he thinks of me
when the line of a stranger’s jaw recalls my pale throat
my body less flawed in his memory
than here, in Toronto
where time still passes as it should.
Kelly Rose Pflug-Back is a 23-year old author, student and activist based in Ontario. Her poetry, fiction, journalism and essays have appeared in places like Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, The Dominion Paper, OBSOLETE!, Goblin Fruit, and This Magazine, as well as numerous anthologies. Her first book, These Burning Streets, is forthcoming from AK Press in 2012. She is a contributing editor with The Fifth Estate, America’s longest-running anti-authoritarian publication, and has worked as a broadcast journalist with independent radio stations across Canada.
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