Though My Palms Are Dirty
Though my palms are dirty, to return to dust
with an empty stomach is what concerns me most.
To this extent, I’m fearful of what awaits my body
as it disintegrates in its diaphanous suit:
the smell of rusted metal, a field of entangled
faces vying to remember a trite elegy.
What I won’t know is the language of
my maker, if s/he speaks in postscripts
or cares about the unused chiffon wedding dress
stuffed away in the closet without a key.
P.S. Life is a dull stone in a dry creek bed.
P.P.S I’m sorry for not telling you sooner.
If I’m judged for wishing for another moon
to comfort the crescent heart in its black shell, then so be it.
Somewhere my smile’s buried deep in a mass grave.
Somewhere a skull fights a current of ash, begs to be remembered.
when the dust settles
and the remains of our language
are scattered in the bone marrow of the fallen,
look first for my skeleton
beneath the charred ash-heap of burned books
rising like a monolith
from the center of this city,
where, in my hand, will be
the pencil i’ve substituted for
fire. take it
and use it to
pry forth the last row of teeth
hanging loosely from my jaw,
gaping now like the modular
concrete barriers we hid
behind for far too long. where
my eyes were will be whispering
grottos. explore them. string a tendon
around your forefinger and index finger
and pluck it to
tilt my neck back so that I may stare
into the atmosphere, pure
now of radio waves and useless
speech. upturn and shake
my ox-bowed left femur to empty
it of its contents: the monkey’s paw,
my father’s hot breath liquefied,
a bony condolence. lastly,
before you too must run,
place your fingers on the soft spot
of my sternum and press downward.
crack open the egg
where my heart once was,
my last secret, my last poem,
and bury it
so that whomever
inhales this dust
it was that kept
Joshua Martin is a recent graduate of Clemson University's MAE program. In addition to writing poetry, he enjoys walking aimlessly around the streets of Charlotte, NC, with his camera strapped around his neck, looking for poignant slices of life. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The Decades Review, Eunoia Review, Red Fez Literary Review, The Camel Saloon, and The Wilderness House Literary Review. He's currently working on his first chapbook of poetry.
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