'count to a hundred'
is a division
by zero. what indefinite can
in skin?” it is paneless & the nose has warped
the frame w/ breathing heat.
mother & father turn
on the stovetop, bright as a girl
poking ladybirds' spots.
she stops & the # is truly great, but none—
is a broken rudder stranding;
an albatross @ first
landing; the glint of a scope
w/out a thought
frankenstein @ the lake
the creature stood @ the glaze of a lake mist preening
her jaw w/ a bone-brush from a wounded doe
the flask of her eyes sunk in the drinking night
twin draughts gleaming some rotted melody on a body
in the lake which schlupped ashore smooth as driftwood
i approached her but held my unlit torch besides
the creature leapt to sniff me out in the gloam
her heft collapsing slow as a wilting pansy
i came close to touch what i'd shocked to life
“revoke! undo! turn back or sail due north!
there is no bough here worth the dint of your sorrows!
no sword in waiting! no apple bobbed can bear you!
you will be starved! you will be listless! you will drown
& yet want for water!”
the creature turned:
“but i am grander than a placard or post
pending the route to a more sagely Avalon
or the whispers of kittens seen only through
a wall chink! that isn't nor will be my end!:
to be tending, never tended!
i am not a window! not a leaf on the lake!
i am the terror of seeing! a maskless hail!
a firecracker! a flare-gun! a gunpowder cask
in a burning building! i am what No One confronts!
a cracked mirror in the dark
painted in the lipstick of a bruise black shade!”
& through! the glim of torches went tearing
& the creature stepped, wombless, a mother
to wait in the murk of that lake.
Natalie Ada Mariko is a transwoman poet from New Jersey. https://www.augusthaunts.me/