She lost her mind.
If the story was rewound
might she see where it had
been left behind,
If she held the film up to the light,
carefully scrutinized each frame,
could she perceive the past?
detect the nebulous shapes,
the indescribable colors.
Or in another version,
it was obscured,
never to be looped again.
She coughs up a sentence,
chokes out the description that’s
been bubbling in her throat lately.
Low, it remains inside her breath –
a story she’s telling herself
as if it were not her own.
She moves through the city in dim light,
murmuring her tale.
Shadows play tricks. Are those hisses?
She sees animals and bodies in the distance.
Once close, it is a wrinkled coat splayed in the road.
A scrap of wet carboard is still.
She moves quickly through the dark blue night.
She authors the account from the inside of her body.
Characters inscribed along a fleshy pink fold
are indecipherable in form and understanding.
This language echoing through organs
and blood, mucous and veins is nonetheless
fierce and strong.
It pulses an inescapable history,
a rhythmic song that is alive.
The interior of all her bodies,
More than four hundred days have passed.
And she remains seated, as if on a throne,
at Washington and Western.
with legs crossed,
she is at the center opening of a
blue and grey tent.
Zipped into her plastic refuge
that protected from a cold wet
winter, it will soon,
defend against summer heat.
This shelter that shields her
conveniently conceals her
from the city which has forgotten
Wall upon wall of obstacles.
A refusal to commit.
A mountainous lack of response.
A discourteous snub to assist.
She would no longer wait,
could not suffer the resistance.
She positioned herself
on the warm grass
She heard voices enclosed in her own exhalations.
She tried hard to decipher each distorted inflection.
Whispers on whispers.
Imperceptible murmurs inside each deep breath.
Her last inhalation, declaration of death.
The spectacle of fleshy petals set her dizzy.
Each overlapping lavender fold threatened an
impossible yet terrifying trauma.
Beads of sweat marked the edge of her lip
like the thorns dotting each stem.
She swooned when a light breeze sent rich fragrance
swirling up her nostrils, rolling down her throat.
Choking on a sweet perfume,
she trembled on the garden ground.
She furrows her brow in disapproval, creasing lines already carved into her forehead.
In violet satin, she surveys the room without lifting her eyes. At the front of her head sits a bulge of hair, most likely a rat inside to hold the auburn tresses in shape.
She dares not look up for fear of catching the eye of a stranger in the bustling room.
Holding steadfast to the task, her gaze remains turned down while her pink nose twitches towards a messy stack of papers. Each page is filled with columns of penciled-in names which she violently crosses out.
Time is up when she feels a curious stare examining her legs, her body, then moving up to observe her lumpy hair. Panic, as this pair of eyes hunt to meet her own.
With dread, she swivels her torso and scurries to the corner.