Art by Kate Shaw
May 16, 2019. Gone to Rita, saintly brick.
At wit’s end thumbed thru the mall my viscera
become tightrope-walking rhombuses.
My weariness goes headfirst. I’m divested
of all sibilants, clubfooted, the mall seamy
and windswept, familiar in a wet casket kinda way.
The rain could have been my dying breath.
I see sex
simulators in disrepair, emoticon affection
vended to paper cutouts
of dads—tarry treacly
castles in their creases. I smell hair
heat-rolled, crabs wedged into coolers
full of acrylic nails. Panama City welcomes you
on seventy-foot liquid crystal display! Fake cattails, kittens
on sale, kitten heels, cafe, gumball dispenser, sporting goods.
Panama City. I’ve been here before.
I’m a blind trapeze artist produced in four parts,
and I’m watching my fifth perform. I’m an atlas
of my ass’s pixels. I want blood—my own—
in a paperweight—to pitch at the sky. I want never
again to get stuck on the year. Beyond
that ceiling is a vanishing
twin moon. Canvasses my irises. I sense it
ballooning on me. Somewhere an advertisement
flashes the words: Every time you look on the world,
you produce another mirror. I take my blood, hurl it.
The escalators, cash registers, walls are corroded.
My impressions of Kant: an empty university: pictures
of Greece: beams of blue light: my alder
bookmark: my sleep. The stars
form a fishing net. I peel off a magnet
from within my opened skull, and inscribed
on the magnet—
my birth date? I can’t tell
if it hurts or not when the air
finally fills my lungs. I can’t tell if I want
to be remembered for the character
of my eyes
or for the way