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
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.