Hand over hand over hand, carved
bottom to top, we make this wound together.
When the slice is tall enough to step through,
He sends a good night to
            pry you away.
I must walk in this fresh cut without you.
      the blood churns thick and grows
serpentine—a paper ribbon twisting around toes.
      The wound seals closed. The serpent uncoils
a hiss and crawls in-between legs,
            leaving standing hairs
and a flushed face. It rivers along
      the spine and tugs over
chest over shoulder over back over chest over shoulder,
            skimming across the skin—a ruby-silken
blindfold—tangling hair and muffling ears.
      Only when it is full, with lips and tongue free,
       does it tie off at prayer-crossed hands.
I do not fight it.
      I breathe the blood
like my chest has four lungs. I drown
       lavishly, leaning into the heat, melting
into a languorous ooze. I give into the serpent,
      like bones are given to graves,
      and I let it spin me
            into dust.
I do not know how long
      it takes. It is a priest that finds the wound,
that parts the seal—bare hands peeling
      scabby layer over scabby layer. It is his voice
I follow out, his hands that unfold
            my sliming limbs
      and fan apart my wings—
            bigger than before.