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

gently

pry you away.

 

I must walk in this fresh cut without you.

 

Here,

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.