Self-Portrait in Year-Old Boots
(a) Soul Cages
We touch down on the island of wind and water. Someone’s heart has stopped beating in 4B. I check my seat number before I stand, just to be sure. Her hair is the only red thing on the outside of me, looped and lobed, each dark strand a vein of delivery. My eyes turn blind from the white of her my’s. Every click of the shutter makes me shutter and click, the crook of her finger like a come-hither asp, a black apple, a twisted trunk. Beneath my right soul, the land slithers into silence and bites my ankles. My boots are rubbed with pepper and poison. I’ve come all this way for a taste.
(b) Without Coffee or Love or the Word “Iceland”
First the heels fall off. Then the blisters begin. Flies wait for the moment when I slip my socks into the stream. I have fished up dead things again. I have a bowl of paper babies. I have a crown of browning seaweed that is too far away from home, and a ring that falls off my finger every time my reflection leans to look. The yellow brick road is just a river that dried up. Harder to walk on, never gets me wet. It might be time to cast my hair down, choke the water into breathing.
(c) Love Notes in the Shape of Swans
There are sixteen ways to break a heart. I know the impossible secret seventeenth way too. The runed line of it carved in crisped duck across the table, finished in spoon speak on the half-baked Alaska one couple over. Every time I tried to speak it, the word broke open on my tongue, berried with red. I started dinner with my boots napkined in his lap to catch what fell. When the server bent my tin foil into wings, I folded again.
Is the thing I’ve been meaning to say. It’s been a long year. It’s not about the boots. Or the heart. Or even the self.