Letters to the Bat
By Rebecca Lu Kiernan
13 Step Recovery
This blurry sheet of rain won't stop. It knows.
It could pummel for eternity
And never wash this street clean
Of the words that fell
On the bent blue orchids, wolfkiss lilies, the orange grove.
The ice paralyzes everything.
If spring ever has the faith to rise,
I hope the words unkind
Did not kill the roots of flowers,
The laughter of future hours,
The neon feathered birds
That trust enough to light
On the recovering trees.
Angels are coming to cripple your wings.
It's not going to be a gang fight.
It won't be violent.
They will come in inexplicable tenderness and mercy.
You will be rendered unconscious by their grace.
When you wake
Disheveled, stiff, flightless,
You will have gazed into
Their prescient eyes
And felt their unwavering hands.
This loss will be a fair exchange,
Touched by the constant
That is a measure
Of the soul.
lips in chapped neon tangerine
snagged red fishnet stockings
nipples glittering gold
he pays a girl to dance like love
grips his bourbon and seven
as if it is the combination lock
to the portal
of the past
and he could
his unrecognizable self
the hungry dog dances
at the clink of its bowl being filled
let's call that love too
a creature with no options
like the fishnet girl
who sometimes gives away sex for free
because it feels like love
she goes unbitten
it would be cruel to render
such a life immortal
sometimes even a vampire
finds a molecule of mercy
The Longest Month of the Year
Deceased loves have been daring to visit me
Inside my insomniac vigil.
One brushed my breast with an orchid
The blueblack of a bruise,
Breaking into dust against my flesh.
One kissed my neck
With grey, icy, smoke-tainted lips.
Their unwelcome clairvoyance
Cannot be denied.
My ruined lover sleeps in our silky red sheets,
Becoming increasingly transparent.
When he leans into visibility
And I can see
The shape of what was once a man.
He says loving me was his imagination,
Recites a list of my character flaws.
He cups his hands so tenderly
(As he once held my face
The day he said we were soulmates)
And scoops up the silence of the floral room
Slowly and without mercy
Attempting to bury me alive.
But I have been talking to scientists
Who have charted out the approaching storm,
The deceptive calmness of the sea,
Sharks washing up on the shore,
Birds of prey falling from the sky,
The decibel of silence
That keeps a man awake, shrieking.
The Waiting Room
Crisp boxes are coming to remove us
In billions of subatomic particles.
Smaller and smaller grow our lives
With every silence,
Every held breath.
Movers are crushing
Our priceless Monet.
What do they know,
Procuring their sad clown paintings at Walmart?
Velvet Elvises from roadside stands.
The sea is littered
With charred leaves, featherfall,
Fingerprintless knives of thieves.
Your name is about to be called
In the black church
Of poison candles and plastic flowers.
table of contents