Rumor speaks of opiates chased with absinthe, of
hands spread like the porcelain fingers of virgin geisha,
trailing through smoke-curdled air toward a man-child
swirling white lightening through gapped teeth.
Rumor speaks of lumbering ascent, of NASCAR sheets
breathing plumes of lacy fabric softener over thighs and forearms
tangled like un-staked tomato vines. A waxing gibbous
stains blue walls silvery white; a dog barks, his nerves
recalling ancient bloodline.
Rumor speaks of splintering migraines and bile-raw throats,
a gray-blue rose planted near the collarbone. Spring gaiety
sways toward savage heat; fatigue comes as a knife
sunk through spongy abdomen.
Rumor speaks of dead things like they are living things,
of a rice-grain heart faltering to a stop. Swallowed chemicals absorb;
swirls of pink matter stain the porcelain bowl rose.
The water is black and
Spaceless as my most
Advanced notion of time
Ending to the medium’s
Drumroll, festering sockets
Where she clawed
Eyes from her face,
Casting them to
Crimson flames that
Writhe over one another
Like so many heathens
Opening their bodies,
Tasting the sweat of their
Allies with forked tongues
As they taste the water,
Silt filling nostrils, flesh
Sloughing from dry bones
That burn like matchsticks,
Snapping and piling in great mounds,
Carpeting the lake floor.
Anja Benevento is a writer of poetry and short fiction, a lover of words, and a student of literature. She studied creative writing at Pacific Union College. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, Gamut, MockingHeart Review, and Eunoia Review.