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See, you’re telling me,

all we are is echoes. The remains

of yesterday’s gods are tangled

in your eyeslipshair electric and all I am

is footnotes. I live in narrow margins, that crisp dry cycle

of a mustard laundromat, a caesura slicing poets

across their silver tongues, all cacophony and no bite—

the orchestra is tuning its violins to the sound

of your voice, the blessings of a false

prophet and his luminous beings, wailing

deicide, deicide, deicide—

(Perhaps I am a better anecdote than human.)

See, I live with lions, you’re telling me, and I don’t

pull my punches, and I’m smiling because I live

in a polyphony of red and your prayers come

with teeth: the whispered apology of satin on skin—


I have no time for your devotionals. I have saints

of my own. I dance with them when you have not

kissed away the ghost

of a body electric. I once sang

with swamp water and radiant light. (I came

with open palms, sap-stained longing, knew you

were a fletchling aching for flight; I am not holy enough

to save you.) See, I am burning, you’re whispering

through corrupted lungs, and sooner or later I’ll burn

you alive. And I thought, Rat-a-tat girl, you taste

like gunpowder, and I have always loved

allie humphrey




Allie Humphrey lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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