by Kathryn Halford


Ring I.

ruffled fingers and gnashing teeth

            no longer fantasies,

                phasmatic and plasmastered

darling tumblewords that snag

                on the crags and

catapult themselves into real breathing weight

frigid bay, sea of whirling pines
austerity washes you in cold light
the soft one called the anger dampening and you reply

you put her arm around her shoulder and around her shoulder

sheathing yourselves in fluctuation:

                      trampoline trousers or flimsy jumpers

pliable skin suits

restless summer babes in untied shoelaces, crisscross dress-
es with body bags, icky sacks that suffocate

why do you only look back?


Ring II.

The scene opens on your childhood bedroom, devoid of furniture but full of blenders.

what do they find?

are gold, were gilded
are blood, were windows
are anger, were anger

Where do I begin?

And on the seventh day her fingers and toes stretched like taffy to engulf the ground, stretched
and warped and wobbled through the dirt. And there were her roots, anchored deep in the moist
soil on the other side of the river in a brick house with a black widow on the front porch. Uproot

Facing the forest
dark throbbing huffing grinning

what are they looking for but unedited confession:

Forgive me father for I have sinned / I nearly drowned that dog in the pond / I felt nothing in the
face of beauty / I sat alone for days on end / I cried silently into my fists / I put my faith in man / I
put my faith in god / I turned aside as God killed man / I found love in a cult / I grew crazy in the
woods / I listened to the stories of singing bears / I hibernated / I awoke / I nearly killed that boy

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