fingerprints and ghosts 2 am justwrite

the best guess anyone has to how fingerprints are made is the underlayer of skin colliding with itself like tectonic plates in the earth pressing each other up into mountains–a planet at the tip of each finger, hands reaching
open toward sky.

if i wrote for long enough
would all of me be gone–these words
are finite ghosts
passing onto the page but
more dies each moment

last night’s blue fading
a dream at day-
break, this morning’s breath

i miss each moment and
could never mourn it–
seconds slipping
days gone– was i sleeping?
have i ever been awake?
have i ever been

the darkness dissolves
the skin around my eyes, leaves wrinkles and
windows, my face
a glass pane, cracking
under your fist

but my hands are whole
heavy dry clay
dead puppets, strings cut, limbs
dead fish at the ends
of dying branches–

yet more ghosts–

writing smeared, pencil blended, writing this, my glasses near my feet, trusting my fingers to make these letters, moving on before I can ever be sure. can you read this? can you read this? are you still here? were you ever?

visitor justwrite

You visited in my dream last night, arrived in a mist that smelled of ocean, thick beading on your skin–leaves white salt marks like fossils of snowflakes–as if something that exists so briefly can leave a lasting mark. When I woke up, the indent of your cheek still pressed into my pillow, the warm ghost of your hand silhouetted on my chest, but my white walls and the cluttered floor insisted on alone and the morning silence sang its greeting–you’re alone, alone, not even the wind to keep this silence back, alone, alone, alone–
I try to count the stars before bed but I lose myself in their webs and they fade. You told me once the night sky looks different every season. I was too fixated on your lips to look up. I told you a flower grew in front of your mouth as you spoke, the petals browning while I named them. In my dream the sea water drowns these quiet peonies, a jellyfish clutching their thin throats below faces round and gaping. I wake up and am so sore I cant speak, wonder if I breathed in fire while I slept. Your smell still rests in my sheets, the window open, sucking out all air that wasn’t touched by you.

short ugly justwrite

when i introduce myself i want to speak ugly

want to spit cracks across my face and show you what it means to be disgusting. open my chest and reach your hands into the hot decay, my heart an apple gone soft, brown ooze that coats your teeth and tongue with its thickness. i stand in the dark hallway between our rooms at night and whisper

i’m sorry.

i hang your tears like a chandelier in my gut, crystal and sharp and still. i want to call this waiting, want to call it ice, want to blame winter
but my breath is a fog this thick in June, my fingers numb, losing their edges. February is coming soon. i wonder if something will be different. a cardinal
wings across beak
sleeps in my throat, filling it.

having a weird day and just writing????… :

You sit behind my eyes and say nothing. You move

this hand

with your silver offerings, bring air into this
mouth, and still
I don’t feel, but maybe

I sense a tiny dancer spinning
again and again at the front of my skull
sharp bones a diamond
drill piercing, feet through

rock, the planet
weight at her

looks at me with pale eyes and
something that might be
/trapped/ or maybe
/lost/. I glance
again and she turns
to salt, white
and crystalline
and smelling of ocean

night air in the atrium of my heart
wet and warm
and sharp.
Open my abdomen

and pull out the carcass
of a baby whale, rotting,
mother’s milk sour
on swollen lips, seabirds

pulling flesh from the frame of her

growing round and
screaming happy
fog of wings
swirling through the stench of her.
they look
like dancers, carry
sky out of the broken
middle of me. a girl

walks by and vomits saltwater
looks deep into me and says

I’ve always known I would drown.

stung justwrite

Jellyfish bloom in the Chesapeake in August like the peonies in your memories, follow the salt up from the ocean when it doesn’t rain. I remember the first dorsal fin of a dolphin I saw surface by the marshes–I thought my eyes were dreaming, like seeing a lemon yellowing in the sun on our blueberry bush. Where did this come from? and my stomach turning over and over the way it does when you’re out of my sight. I got lost in the aquarium aisle of a super walmart when I was a girl, didn’t notice how much time had passed because the fish tossed themselves back and forth in front of me like jewels under the moon, guppies flashing the red of their throats, one grey starfish with a million tiny limbs moving as the stars do–drifting so slowly they might be frozen but if you fall asleep they’re gone before you open your eyes. I think I may be moving like this, or else I have delusions of stardom, see myself bright, see myself in this constellation, think someone is down below drawing lines to give me meaning, but maybe I’m a dead log in the Chesapeake, hundreds of tentacles brushing across. I look up and the sky is crowded with jellyfish. They open like the harvest moon, round as your mouth when you whisper “Tuesday” or “spool” or “love.” I want to teach you how to see these words like I do but I open my palms and only find lemon peels shrinking into their yellow, shriveling like a child stung, poison under her skin. You turn around and I can’t see what surprises you. I look up and don’t know if the stars are coming or going.

things inside of mouths justwrite

My throat tastes yellow and slimy, the underbelly of a salamander hugging the side of Pine Mountain. I ask why you call it that when the sparse virginia pines are shadowed by endless oaks and birches. You try to speak but your mouth overflows with yellow jackets woven together, a carpet of motion vibrating against your vocal chords–

sounds like singing, sounds like the ghosts of trains crooning up from the valley. I start to say “home,” but my tongue is stumped by the word, my eyes fluttering, a moth in the dark with nowhere to land. Our bodies are filled with things that have both wings and legs–

most days I feel I have neither, only two small arms with two small hands clutching over and over at the air. They try to fly away but are tied to my spine, crumbled column down the middle of me, growing roots that I rip up when they urge me to sleep, to land on a soft pine branch in a birch’s shadow. “Please, call me home. Tell me what you love.” My tongue is the smooth underbelly of a snake, sneaking through the leaves without a sound but one slow whisper that might be the wind.