after a collaboration with Alice Burdick
You egg cup, you balloon animal, shatter and burst, dilute without fuss. Two celestial bodies nod hello while a bucket of paint overflows in the rain. Beach your testimony for a tried-and-true myth. Fiddlehead your hair for the ceremony? Not enough. In the wet glow, ghost your misery. Freeze the clutch inside the hi-hat’s cloud.
Anything can be a hat. Clean and dress and meet me at the back of my head. Remove the small sac from my nape, the one I was saving for a hurricane, along with the petrified fruit in the cellar. Wild or cultivated are your choices for supper. The speeches, the rice, the gaping sky: a cavity to be closed with stray eyelashes. Watch the porch light’s seizure, silver moths. Wait for everything to stop.
SKIN TO FISH
Palm skims the length of a halved salmon, hands cleaner than any glove. Plates lumped with pods and shells, cast-offs from faraway life forms and twitching dinners. Left behind, careful as code, false eyelashes in a dish licked dry. Belly slice, milky eye plucked from its socket. What’s delicious is arbitrary, taste of a dim encounter. What’s forgotten: umbrellas, slim friends clustered in a bin. Tissue shed from presents, bobby pins, blister packs of birth control, headphones, membranes, hair. The server sleepwalks with a platter of jewel-toned tuna and bay scallops. The chef’s hollow clap between pieces, his bowl of water. A plum sinking in Shochu stops all speaking. A party where nobody comes is a sad birthday, sparkler unlit, kettle brimming. We missed the parade, the concert, the busker, the meteor shower. We prop it up and tear it down and prop it up again.
Jaime Forsythe is the author of Sympathy Loophole (Mansfield Press, 2012). Her work has also appeared in The Puritan, The New Quarterly, Geist, This Magazine, and The Antigonish Review. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.