Burned Out by Jay Sizemore

~after Adrienne Rich


Time takes hold of us like an updraft,

feeding a storm’s anvil


flashing white with hammer strikes,


cloud a giant Man-o-war crackling

lightning beneath translucent skin.

These days drag their fingers


through my cheeks like a chalkboard.

So slowly I am hollowed out,

mined for resources.


This flesh, an eggshell,

to move is to fracture fault lines,

to chip and flake like old paint


on a porch swing. I bite

my nails, I wait for the scent

of burnt ozone, the raised hairs


bristling with static and nervous chill,

the oxidized nuance of rain,

coaxing me back into bed.


I feed the sky smoke,

I am the charred trunk

of the tree of Life.

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