She is not afraid of gods. She leaves her skin,
still coiled, a great throat collapsed. 
Gods have entered and left.

The door sounds like a throat clearing
in its rusty evolution toward shadow,
an atrium from scalding noon.

She treats the dark like a cathedral.
She is all swallow, the heart working
under every scale to outgrow a fortified spiral.

The cathedral swallows the heart.
Take up your broom. No gods are left.
She finished the mice in time for autumn's gloom.

There are some cathedrals like this shed
behind the house where she shunned her body
and in the dark was not afraid of gods.

Sunlight pulls past our legs
on the plywood and pools in the coiled skin
that overwintered.

Dig your broom into corners.
She is not afraid of gods or matriarchs.

More by Amber Flora Thomas

A Bird in Hand

I’ve memorized its heart pounding into my thumb.
Breath buoys out. My fingers know how to kill,
closing on the bird’s slippery head.

I don’t remember. Was it that beak bit my chin?
Was it a claw cut my wrist? I blow feathers
away from its chest, smelling pennies and rain.

Skin like granite, a real white-blue, flecked
by knots of new growth. I found my need,
cold in cupped palms, just the way I was taught.

I return to account for whose neck falls around
backwards. Eyes that go cataract bring clouds.

That fat pearl with wings looks like water disappearing in me.

Damaged Photos

You get into puddles with the sky
and when this fails
pit your girl against an ocean.

Choices blur and make off with rooms
in the whiteness. Winged enough to manage
your red kimono’s 37 cranes in various
trajectories while you make the coffee.

You as God with rattlesnakes
and His Admiral Death holding down the muscle,
headless and breath swollen.

You scattered in her facelessness
behind the screen door, not frowning, not joyous,
just working her hands in a dish towel,
folding them away.

You as ether, over-exposed bursting place,
dulling with these selves, spun by light and
dropped into shadow places,
forgotten as you put the photos down.
 

Headwind

Weak motion of grasses and tern before the sea.
Worry’s school cresting here and everywhere
as failings.
 
I pace the cliff path, my hands cupped above my eyes.
The glare steals your progress, a kayak needling
the wide open.
 
Love means you answer, this the child’s rebuke.
A pattern crosses the point, hemming
the horizon: steamship.
 
I didn’t know you were the green pitch
unable to beat the storm to shore.
You didn’t know I was the lookout.
 
Get accustomed to the sad girl picking you
out of the sea, the knot caught in her throat,
and the unraveling of her speech: an endless rope
thrown out of me.