by Kristina Martino
With deadpanned abandon, I’ll be hauling heirlooms to the dump. Of all the reiterative obliterations, it’s the closest doom to dancing on your own grave. The act boasts similar daze properties to a bacchanal hat toss of one’s limbs when littering, looming, illuminating their kinetic craze tactics in an unassuming air. I don’t care. Do you? Equally brazen a method to stave off death is to praise the cave-life of prehensiles—go on, grab on to the tusk of a tree with the thrust of your tail and trust it with your life. What a tether the tailbone is, its absence begs me to get a grip. It’s a godsend to blend in but you know you miss it: the vista up there, tree-topped with an adopted quasi-flighted headheight. It’s dizzying but now it’s all in the wrist. I hold on to it via this fisted hook. In this instance, it is anything I can get my alliterative, tailless hands on, anything I can get attached to, and hence, anything that can topple a sense of recompense and a second tense pseudo-simplicity: you you you you you. You are a haven of yourself that you have yet to breach, and yet, the palimpsest isn’t death: it’s lifelike: a precipice: a lesson in preciousness. It’s a loss like coming across the killjoy of a bird carcass on what was supposed to be a careless walk. It’s a whitewash of what you know to be terrestrial, fossilized, and womb-true— and thus as unmatter-of-fact as vapor. So, too, you’ve been nude at noon when the sun could just assume bleach you. In such light, with the eyes shut, there is a technicolor terra rosa glow ensanguined under the eyelids in glib plasticity. Every crisis is a vision in alizarin crimson but this inner-under-incision is the opposite: It’s your own luminescence in light-years. Time stops. You look out into the brilliance and know nothing like if wind is intuited, there’s no wind-up. It just is. You wake to being nude in a numbing mumble of brightness, all squint-and-window-weary. Words escape you—the plucked fruit you hold is a whatis— you await a pseudo whisper to harken the next pseudonymous nexus, the what next? What universal bad mother emboldens the embezzler expression of Que sera, sera. It’s quaint but it’s already been. Like Eve, I’m bereaved of being bodiless, beribbed with Adam’s ribbon bones and I have to atone for my stark-raving mad serpentine alignment and the Lucifer mark I got from the get-go. Just look at my scoliotic spine. I’m in a pinch with my internal perch, unharmonious, my hunchback, exultant like a bible verse or a curse word, a stifled wing bone begging to break loose and bluish with splay. Tumbledown, but it keeps me grounded, a bit necro with metallic arthritis, too S-ish, too overwrought an arc to fit in a brace. All told, it holds me up. It may twist its crooked rhyme but it’s mine. It’s mine. When I was a child, enchurched on the swing in the stinging dazzle of midday, I got myself to the highest point, I closed my eyes and with a feeling of both heck no!& hark!,I let go. I let go. I let. Go.
Kristina Martino is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in DIALOGIST, Interim, Best New Poets 2021, and elsewhere. She has received an MFA from The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and fellowships and residencies from Franconia Sculpture Park, Oak Spring Garden Foundation, and the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation. Some of her drawings can be viewed here: www.kristinamartino.com.