I Am False Bride, I Am Bad Sister
She wipes gold leaf from the wet of her mouth.
I was braced for the frogs. Both spotted tongues,
both croaked. You should be warned that one must
taste bitter and I’ve come from the forest. I’ve brought
you some terrible shutter to chew. Dug out under moss,
I lifted my skirt then set back down. Some houses are built
to be cleft so I tend to the growth on the woodwork. Down
of an earlobe dabbed with creek water brought in my flask.
Yes I drink what is left, yes, and name this as care. I won’t
pick out the burrs from your shoulder. I have tried it before,
but was no sweeter. The river bed by which I won’t mend
and hum I wash my hair alone in the mud. Comb through.
Marsh webbed in the Y. Yes. I do love you, this is not
a confession. But I do want your hand at my throat,
I do, and a mouth that loves mouths made of flesh.
My mother was an amateur, grew cockscomb
in the back lot, stole hydrangea and statice
from gardens we’d pass. Scissors just for that.
Lob and scatter. She’d hang them by their feet,
I’d hang like a chewed doll from the wicker
chair. Rush. Bouquets erect on the ceiling,
and rushing still. She taught me [see catalog]
how to hog tie and gut—[to purchase ham
bones, see menu] I’ve learned a few tricks!
I have a store front now, filled with flowers
[see below]. All available to ship. Roses
tombed with silica: Romance Is Alive!
Freeze-dried marigolds for Bitter Wife
and a New Baby clump of daisies.
I pressed [see catalog] my first Baby’s
Breath with asparagus ferns in a book
of your choosing [yours for 20 dollars].
I’ve taken to drying in the microwave.
Cover the bud with cat litter then blast
on high. The first time I tried this was
the month Michael Jackson died. I ate
water crackers. I expelled again. Could
not believe how alive the plant looked—
looks yet [see catalog]. Green as my gills,
bruised like the stripes threading my hip.
Days passed and I took a drive to Pigeon
Forge to see Michael’s body in the wax
museum. His skin petaled in pink, brows
trimmed. I thought he’d be younger. Wanted
the child. I still have dreams where I crack
the security system, sever the cord with a pair
of scissors, sneak back after close and find
Michael to kiss his cheek or—please—his
mouth. [See camera] Have you ever tasted
wax? Like silica: blues you good but never fills.
Notch of Cells
It is a privilege to be left to sleep through sadness.
I should know, I stew soft in milk, soak days in scotch
and salt. Some mornings I wake still in the tub and I
am dry, I am too old to pretend there is decadence
in decay. Scrubbed velvet under plum, each one
lush with dust. I drink out of cups now. I’ve stopped
smoking, clean myself and revisit the carpet: ear pressed
against the floor to the sounds of leftovers in the kitchen.
Now, why the Hell — an aunt, to my mother. The pop
of a bottle. My father, three months sober, dispatched
to buy more bourbon — would you go and have him do that?
She’s slurred. Forgot or never knew that vodka was his
favorite, feared bourbon would make him fat. I knew
not to tell a soul when I broke my coccyx as a teenager.
A little drunk, on the back of a vespa (bright yellow,
buttercup) riding to the river when rain slicked the shale
beneath the wheels. What was the gain in sharing?
There is always a bit of bone, alone.
Suzannah Spaar is a poet living in Pittsburgh where she is an MFA candidate in poetry. Born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, she values a good ghost tour. Currently, she serves as a contributing editor for Aster(ix) Journal and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.