He X me good. He X me up around the head and left me to die. He XXXXXXX me XXX and tear the whole throat out. He X me before he left me in the morning. He XXX the light right out of me. Underneath the snow is a gaping hole. Underneath the snow is a cut burst wide. He X the blood right out he drained what I lost in the XXXX the snow weighs down like a cloak. Avalanches kill with their silence. Can you smell disaster. He X the good place out. He X the safe space. It takes your room. XXX as a reminder of what was taken. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX a reminder of the holes hidden XXXX an omitted space XXX what he did when no one was watching XXXXX now every one is watching and we know. XXXXXXX the word that doesn’t work in the sentences that doesn’t fit in the time period in your life that won’t erase. Can you smell disaster. Can I XXXXX myself back clean. I wouldn’t be a cold disaster I think I’d be a fire because XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX he thrives on silence. XXXXXXX he knows you won’t speak but I’m trying. X. What you solve for. What makes the equation work. I’d be a fire, a natural burn from a spark in a swamp where the cattails become arrows and the arrows turn to ash. It’s coming for you. XXXXX he thrives on the cold winter washes up what’s underneath. He X me like we all don’t know what comes next. Lost in the XXXXXXX I think I’m a better survivor than initially projected: avalanches create new environments for plant & animal life. Even XXXX can’t stop the growth. He XXXXX me XXXX forgot the words XXX I am all my omitted spaces and the blacked out memories from I think I XXXXXX I think I XXX you my dear I created something I can’t control.
TO FLOCK, TO GATHER IN THE WINGED NIGHT
I am in that I want to be full.
Last night I dreamed of bees; when I cried out to my mother, it was the wrong house; the yawning hallway looked me down; I nightmared back to sheets moving; I saw the buzzing first then bees, movement predicated by movement.
I dreamed a ribboning below my waist, the fabric coming apart, skirt yielding to dream-winds; I dreamed a house made of grass and spittle; I was making a nest. When I dream I am empty
I crouch and lap up clay. There are curled bodies in my laps and I hug their furry bodies near. They are not made of clay; the book opens to page one, cravings: poison, liquor, ice, meat, clay; I dreamed
spinning honey into threads of gold. What we make for our futures. I dreamed the blood from within billowed out like velvet, became the blanket that warmed me at birth, what is a craving but what keeps us. I bathed
in the creek by the highway, orange like iodine spots the split rocks dissolving into palm cracks; it was clay all along; it was our foundation; it colored my thighs
as I touched every inch, as it dripped down the inside of my knees like water breaking, water breaking, water breaking into light. Each drop creates a ripple, creates the motion of two bodies fucking, the bodies in love shudder more
than hummingbirds’ wings. She gathers the sweet moon-nectar before the tide moves up. She moves so fast to stay still.
WE ARE RUNNING
In the dream, we are running underground. Around us the voices of teenagers. Around us the voices of vines constricting, we hear them tighten. Around us the trickle of time. On the wall, someone has written: I’ll fly away, fly away. On the wall, someone has also written a bible verse. We’re not in heaven here. We’re not in heaven anywhere we can be slammed down with our face touching a concrete sewer tunnel. There’s a smiley face among several drawings of dicks. We are running underground with our hands laced around each other and we are frantically searching for the light. One thing I love about you is that you know it will come. It’s there somewhere. We’re not in heaven anywhere we can feel so light and so heavy at the same time, my muscles tensing with each step trying to widen the gap between here and there. We’re not in heaven and that’s okay because even underground there are flowering plants. Even underground my breath gets heavy and all around us the sounds of our breaths expand, get louder, bounce off the walls of the tunnel and travel back to us: we’re here, we’re here, we’re here. We follow our breath out the opening above us and we’re not in heaven. The world of the living is so much the voices of teenagers. Ache with me. We are underground and running, and this is significant because we are always running towards. The word itself is movement.
Kina Viola lives in Oxford, Mississippi. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jellyfish, GlitterMOB, The Collagist, ENTROPY, and other journals. She helps run the Trobar Ric reading series in a shed in a backyard, and is the managing chapbook editor for Big Lucks Books.