on the inside
of my other
skin (the covering, the outer layer, the epidermis, peel, rind, a thin surface forming on the
surface of certain hot fluids, fleece, pelt,
THE BAD THOUGHTS
The pale sound of a knife. A quiet night. A sleek cat lifted underneath the covers to settle between your legs. The pure sound of pacing breaths. The wind. The bad thoughts. The unread text messages. The wind. The window. Every single memory in front of a window. The rush of a body falling down down down down down down down down down. The sound of the scissors. The bad thoughts. The bad dreams that creep up to claim you, that leave tingles like a crush. The lust for violence. The embarrassment. The clenching of mouth, of many mouths. Of muscles knowing what minds do not. The stiffening. The headaches. The many headaches. The bad thoughts. The good dreams.
signifying a set;
laid my head
in the memory-
Call me in the morning.
I am dedicated to the fact that many women outlive their husbands. It sits in me like a blood clot. I am dedicated to the many ways a smell can kill you, to the notes of disdain in the air, to the symptoms that don’t exist. I am dedicated to survival, but not in the survivalist way: cans of corn, beans, tomatoes, dry rice and pasta, preparation, no, I am interested in the knowledge that my body can somehow persevere. We all think we’re immortal, I know, but I don’t think it’s that. It’s something more confusing and less grand.
I don’t want to. I don’t want to. I don’t want to. I don’t want to. What is it when you lie there. What is it when you are passive. What is it but a counterweight, a drug. When you lie there. When you don’t want it. When he takes it from you again and again. When you lie that you let it happen. When you carry it in your body like a parasite. When it comes through the middle. When I was 10 years old I watched the Matrix; I loved worlds that weren’t my own. I dreamed of flight and creatures. I asked for it, and I watched when the bug was removed from his stomach and I think at that moment I realized what we carry with us what poisons us, what sinks its callous claws into flesh, what remains unseen, what cannot be dissolved by saliva or acid or by what we do to better ourselves. I carry it proudly though I’d shatter it to pieces if I could. I watched and saw for the first time my insides, what could be inside, the bad things made alive and the way they interact with the body. They don’t eat it up. They don’t control you. Only sit in the quiet, moist holes and take up space, only acting as a part of you that isn’t you. We think about life as created by what’s around it. Birds flocking creates something bigger than itself, creates a cloud. And on the cloud I store my data, and the poems of self-loathing and self-preservation. It’s all here. It moves like something real and evil: the bug, dark water, every curse in every horror movie, the ghosts moving through. Quiet now. I’m thinking of how best to let it starve. I think there’s a part of me lodged in every city street he stands on, a reminder of what’s done is done. I’m living with it. A shard of me lives in every boring line in a poem, I live inside the electricity I will always have but he won’t. In the end, there’s always a flash of light, the weight of that light both heavy & empty. In the movies, there’s light and closure and we are reborn clean and filled with wonder. Birth me in a chasm. Birth me in a just-dug ditch. Birth me in the blood from my own vaginal cavity. I’m buzzing but it’s not the white light come to take me home— it’s you: shriveled, dark clot. It’s you inside my will.
KINA VIOLA lives in Ithaca, NY where she co-runs the Party Fawn Reading Series and makes chapbooks for Garden-Door Press. Work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best of the Net, Small Po[r]tions, DREGINALD, Jellyfish, and other journals. She also edits chapbooks for Big Lucks Books.