EVERY TIME THE SUN CAME UP toadstools cycled through
tree stumps. a topaz hexagon hung around my neck, funneling light
through a measuring tape. cueing slow demise & days i captured
photographs of street rubbish. i was seeing it freshly & finally.
sitting pasty & vegetal on concrete. motifs lining stucco formed curly-
cues around cast-iron piping & grisly shingles. kind of how your hair
falls on your back as it faces me. or how in missouri, you form
the california coast with a single strand on the tile wall. under
a greenish bulb, we stand sallow. in steam, you assure me of my
softness. i ask you to be specific. i ask to hear how my softness spans.
the ice-pond is sturdy. sturdier than
imagined. in steely translucence. the thrown
pebble skids without puncture. i am standing
on a bridge ballooning with the tears of women
everywhere. my own chapped cheeks & others
filling with sliced air. you knocked on my door
on the coldest day of the year. i only wanted
your want. there are some petals that remain
so intact even as they perish. upward in their pots.
dull rot. goddess of sacred pause, show me how
chance quickens with the soil. my heart is fracturing
gradually. between solstice & equinox it feels
as if the past itself is burning. on its last remaining day.
the ground warms. the sky unzips.
Haley Joy Harris is a writer from Los Angeles who is based in St Louis, MO.