Self-Portrait as a Wound, a Bird Skull & a Stone

The cats still in the dark outside your house, at the beach we let the sand chap our bodies into something not our bodies and you drew lines over my skin with the crooked edges of shells and we forgot your fingers on my spine in the night. Your father is a man turned to stone, one of these days we will find him rocked over on the very same porch step but this time his eyes won’t open again, or they will be open and unblinking, shards of broken-bottle blue and a half-whispered promise, the touch we tried to forget. Your mother said a body is an engine and girls like us are scorched, gasoline cans left on the pavement. After the brushfire we sat in your attic, sucked the singe off our fingers, mouths full of soot. Your father said to pray for a flood so we started burning everything up, let our knees start to blacken and took up smoking, as if a lungfull of ash could save us, as if the sky weren’t red, but some nights we still climb the reservoir, swim until we can’t anymore and then we float.