By Danielle Krakovsky
Glossy white halls coated in the eye-watering smells of desperation and disinfectant
Stores cluttered full of animals with dry glass eyes and wires for bones
Quiet, peaceful hills dotted with unfeeling, unrecognizable, unmentionable monuments of stone
Rasping flowers pulled from between the yellowing pages of age-old books
All clawed hands grasping at skin and bones and weakening sinew
Paper-thin hands tightening around quickly emptying hourglasses
I sit beside the window and regard
The dark afar the rising woods.
Beyond the fire-blooming trees and through leaves pulled by chilled air
Past the arch of chalk white granite
Lies the distant beginning of Winter-Bloom
Where ice is fire and the feeling of the wind is Void
And deep in the night, the falling flakes will be the only stars in a leaden sky
There is the end
Out the window I know I will lay
Snow refusing to melt against my frozen skin
Wondering what is sky and what is ground.
I take deep springtime breaths
Just to feel my soul scrape my ribs.
I seek the placement of viscera and blood
To carefully place the light of god in hidden red.
I trace veins under thin skin,
Seeking, feeling, the source of life.
I want to know where bones belong
So I can grow flowers around them.
Clematis creeping up trellis-ribs
Lily of the valley blooming through the ischium
Wildflowers popping up near the tarsals
And a single perfect chrysanthemum
Carefully placed in the orbit
This is my divine purpose
Fulfilled with relish and vigor
In service of the greatest Be.
With two firm hands, I have grasped my red thread and pulled it steadily through an embroidery needle
This is a gift I give myself to weave my existence, stitch by painstaking stitch, into the fabric of my reality
My parents handed me a chisel the day I wrote my very first word
An unavoidable providence to force out The Truth, my truth.
The bitten-down nails of my left hands are the perfect knife
To carve a haiku into the locked door, as it teeters on the edge of a cliff.
There is a calligraphy pen I am given when I see sunlight dappling through the leaves
Made for gently curving lines, made for small soft tremendous letters, made for single words and not stories.
The fruits of my labor are not for me, they do me little good.
But I make them still
In the desperate, silent hope
That the woman at the coffee shop will smile and nod at me again when I finish speaking.
I want my skin to be a welcome canvas of everything I ever was
I want the scars to tell a story of what I said and did
From the large-scale incisions across my knees and feet and back
To the tiny swirl on the skin of my thumb that refuses to fade away
I want a patchwork of ink to swirl across my flesh
As a beautiful and ongoing eulogy to everything that I love
To the stories that made me who I am, to the things that make sure the blood in my veins keeps moving.
I want memories punched into my skin so I can look and see and remember
And so that when I die the mortician will see my corpse, stained as it is, and say “Oh. I understand.”
Even if they only understand a fraction, it will be enough.
And then I want it all to be burned away.
Like wind through the dying autumn leaves, or the fight between the ocean and the water-trodden stones, or the movement of ash mingled with the clouds
I want the mortician to see one portion of my being, see its insignificance and its enormity, and smile
And only then, only then, do I want them to smile again as I turn to dust and bone shards.