like smoke, she rises

she stands bare skinned in the bathroom 
stretch marks sketched along her hip bones 
cracks begin to settle in the depths of her skin 
and still you mirror every part of her she has come to despise

like a tattoo inked on the forearm of a lover
now a distant memory 
etched in the crevasses of her palm 

you once held her hand,
and the heavens trembled beneath her feet 
her pulsating heart
still bleeding blue 

in clenched fists
unbecoming of her worth
you begged to touch the sun in her face 
only for her to shrink herself into bite-sized pieces  

small enough for you to digest the brilliance of her beauty
yet too magnanimous in its magnitude for you to absorb and nourish 
your insatiable hunger

to prove her love,
she cascades desire at the mouth of the river bank
whispers mysterious into the wind
hallucinates dreams into the fullest crescent moon
and manifests light at the tapered bottom of a blackened sky 

still you recoil under the weight of your own smallness 
as she patiently waits
to taste sweet with you

light ablaze the tear soaked love notes folded between 
the nape of her neck 
and your front teeth 

a message your carrier pigeon heart 
didn’t know how 
to deliver

when her halo broke,
she carved the two halves into horns 

and the cosmos,
in all its expansive infinity aligned
so that she could breathe life back 
into the hellish abode of her very existence 

but beloved finally learned to read the signs 
no longer believed in the illusion of a world conspiring against her

for every dark and lifeless night,
she marveled in awe-filled wonder
as the moon and her stars colluded in brilliance 
to radiate her genius

and in her lonely,
absent of the leering, unsettled, critical gaze of an outsider within
she comforted the parts of herself 
no one else dared or knew how to touch 

asked questions which bled her into a corpse
of past lovers
and into the looming shadows 
of the ghosts of yesteryears 

and one by one 
strawberry coloured birthmarks formed 
along the dips and fractures 
of her tired bones 

between her navel
and the roundness of 
her breast

with her fingers, 
the goosebumped, blue-veined constellations 
along her torso 

connecting the dots 
as seamless and natural 
as the sun and her flowers in spring 

building a home within 
still haunted by the torment of 
a 100 years of solitude

she learned to master the stillness
of which bore the faint whispers of 
her murmuring heart

reminding her to breathe softly
at once surrendering the thoughts
that weighed heavily on her crown

as they fell one after another

like a spilled glass of white wine 
dousing the burning blaze in her eyes 
the raging forest fires in her belly

a quiet sigh washes over her
filling her intoxicated paper bag lungs  

the smoke dancing all around her

mar 2020

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