POW !

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momma told me
to follow my heart
but it always led me to the thick black x’s
left where your eyes used to be
so like an aztec priest i
scooped the muscle out
still beating
and constructed a valentine braided
with all my valves & veins
spiked with my blood
threaded with my heartstrings
red-handed
i offered it to you

just like saint valentine
i kneeled down at the guillotine
my head dropped onto a silver dinner platter
i held the plate in the palm of my hand
and covered my visage with a cloche
but slipped on my own blood
like a waiter slipping on the rug
and carried it to your table
red-handed
i offered it to you

you set it in between
your dinner knife and salad fork
and flashed me a translucent smile
licking blood off your teeth
the aztecs sacrificed the blood of their prisoners for gods
but when did i become your sacrifice?
when did i become your Prisoner Of War?
when did you decide you needed my blood
like you need air to breathe?

you lusted over the mess i made
so i scrubbed the bathtub
until you could see your reflection instead but when
my father found me
with bleeding knees & calloused hands
he told me to listen to my brain
to keep my head on my shoulders

like frankenstein’s monster
i tried to suture what remained of my neck back together
but it was too d a m n late for that so i settled for
analyzing your pros & cons
stethoscope to the head and
hearing aids on
to better hear what knowledge
my gray matter was trying to impart me
calculator to my hip
i computed the statistical likelihood
of whether or not you loved me
and when i saw the odds i
planted butterfly bush in my tummy
drank a gallon of water
and suntanned
waiting for the flowers to bloom
they didn’t grow in time for valentine’s day so
i offered you different gifts instead

my heart & brain
were stuffed in the pit of your stomach
because you preferred binging & purging
pieces of me
over even dark chocolate kisses
but the butterflies kissed me instead
they airplaned
through what remained of
my stomach
and i knew
i was lovesick
because nothing I ate
would stay down
the bugs slithered
back up through my mouth
single-winged

i didn’t mean to tear their wings off
it was an accident
i swear
they chewed a path out of my stomach
and into my rib cage but
when they got stuck between my bones
i reached in to unclog my cadaver and
i tore their wings off
i didn’t mean to
i’m so sorry

i held a funeral for the insects
and carried lucky pennies
heavy and clinking
in stretched-
out shirt pockets
then coaxed my soul
out of what remained of my corpse
like an agoraphobiac
out of the house
i offered it to you
but just you shook your head
you were still stuffed from the first course






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