vestigial // palimpsest
(altamonte springs, florida)
you get a big jar with a wide mouth.
you put it on its side and hold it in both your hands
you hold it under the meniscus of a pond like you’re trying to baptize it
you watch it fill w amber-rot still water like you’re trying to drown it.
and 1000 black tadpoles swim obscenely in.
what if every single tadpole was a person who’d seen you fixing your shirt in your reflection in the window
and buzzed your phone with a hotel room number
where they chewed on your nipples?
would you put a lid on it and leave it on top of the pink stucco casket mailbox?
would you come back to the foam and stillness of it and say “dead” to no one?
scratch open my back in the way where
white butterfly wings and white butterflies
burst out through crescents and i become
a white butterfly and i shrink so small
and i dangle impossibly //
in three places in space at the same time
you could never see me still
a man leans in close and says “i love the shadow your top lip casts on your bottom lip”
pressing my mouth like a seashell to his ear, i reply, “cant you love me without cutting me into pieces?”
he is a moth eating the veil i tried to shake over
the exploded parachute i drag around with me through romances
a big deflated ghost i wear so you can see and hear my brushes with danger
so you know my safety measures already turned out their innards and spent themselves
so you believe me
maybe i am only writing this poem in my head
maybe i am auditing what feeds me now
and thats what this whole episode is about
maybe there is a route to cogent notions
about self and trust and the stakes of it
that doesn’t wear the whipped cream crown “lmao i guess”
my tell a swipe of my hand across my mouth
my tell is a gesture like i am wiping gristle off my mouth
i remember a future where i am doing that
i just have to scry it: it’s my blood or it isn’t.
Zach Blackwood is a queer black poet and contemporary performance curator in Philadelphia, PA. He has poems published or forthcoming in Peach Magazine, Metatron, Bedfellows Magazine, and Tenderness, yea. He lives with a beautiful dog named Pig. Follow @blackwhom on Twitter and Instagram for Pig pics.
Featured Image by Jona Fine