house of beautiful drownings
by Kristy Bowen
Believe it or not, the ghosts in my fingertips
love this sort of drama. The ache and swallowtail.
This museum of unruly saints. Every time they
come looking for broken windows, they leave
with rotting boards. With a shipwreck softening
in the space under their tongue. All my suicides are full
of wasps and winsome. Lady-like and decaying.
Once I could say I kept my deceit in my ribs, but my ribs
are serrated. This body, like all bodies burning dry and moving
heavily through the world. Sometimes, between the wars,
we set things on fire in all the backyards in all the neighborhoods,
swam in all the rivers, named all the things that frightened us.
Drowning. Poison. Spiders the size of our hands.
We were fast, fastened to the back of something
that looked a lot like hope moving up and over the midwest.
Now, I go out with my coat undone and come back witch-limbed
and reeking of ditchwater. Swollen, swerving toward
blind curves and blacked out houses. If unhappiness is the new happy,
I’ve been shoplifting magazines and perennials. I plant them in perfect
circles around my busted washing machine.
Around my sequin-lined smile.