MICHAEL RUSSELL

lilith
 
3:30 am, then 

a stampede 
of crickets 

unravel 

beneath cracked feet, 
fissures of flesh 

fray & drag 

the splintered air, 
i’m floating— 

somewhere between 

our bed, the sky.  
boyfriend, don’t whine 

when i straddle  

a leather leash,  
saddle myself 

against the tanned hide 
 
of this beast, pelvis 
meshed into his 

giant spine. as one, 

we sprint through 
the loose branches, 

fallen fruit, stomped
  
sticky with betrayal. love, 
again, you’re a mammoth 

in sleep. listen, 

my first mistake 
was trusting eden,
 
my second: you.  

this morning, the omen  
of stinging insects  

drank pomegranate 

from my wrists,  
i promise not 

to scald you,  

burn the garden 
with fire, ice 

but salt? 

this hive of sweat 
molts my forehead. 

i’ve never 

pulled grass into my skin,  
scraped myself 

crimson, desperate 

& willing to escape 
each wilting blade. 

i am the wind 

tide, the drool 
that flies 

from this beast’s jowls, 

the mania that rises 
to a gallop, halts. 

the bruise of mourning. 


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