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Diptych

BY ANNALISE LOZIER
 

Interlochen Arts Academy, '17
2015 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors List

 

Lydia, can you hear time pass? Once it's finished
with roaring in your ears. Because the water's been rising
for years now, but still it hasn't made a sound. And through the murk
of our slow-cooking lives, a pale green snake has found a home in my throat
and on past my lungs. Would you like to sink? Dr. Green Snake
asks, I can rip out your intestines if you want me to, the lark
sings better down there.
Lydia, you were never very tall
and this is where dead birds live. I can tie your guts into bows
as pink as an angel's face. Please, please, it only hurts a moment,
death only hurts while you’re still alive.
The buildings are drawn flat
against the ground, done up in crayon like a child
gently steaming and peeling away. You'll be the prettiest flotsam
in the river.
I thought it was shells cutting my feet, but snails don't live in shells
anymore. I know you can feel them too, Lydia, for this is
no river pulling our curses away. It was so much easier
to sink with Dr. Green Snake to the bottom of the world
like he was the lead in my stomach.

*

Wishing wells have metal bottoms and metal banks. The ocean floor
is made of babies' mouths and they have me
to my ankles, Lydia. Maybe it's Dr. Green Snake they're after. I will admit
I didn’t think my life would end like this. There's a feast up in heaven, fly bird
fly. The Earth is melting down here. Giant catfish sift
their feathery whiskers through the sick, looking for treasures
the Earth swallowed as it sucked itself away. One stares in the manner
that caves or popped balloons stare. Did you hear the world
is dying?
Whiskers flared like a butterfly in a spider's web. If anything
it’s quieter down here. I wish I could watch it go. Dr. Green Snake hides his head
in the stained lace lining of my stomach. Lydia, you crocheted it for me,
left plenty of holes so I can eat myself, if I ever get hungry. I used to have gray pearl eyes
but the world’s gone to pieces since then, and they’re gone
filling people’s empty skulls.
Lydia, if I were to dig up your grave
would your memories be written inside your head
or did they all disappear when you died? There’s a feast
up in heaven. The gods are making spaghetti. Have you seen my eyes?
No more oysters, no more pearls, the old brown catfish
stares with eyes like rotten fruit. Dr. Green Snake,
say your prayers and set the world to rest. The things I used to see
I can’t remember anymore.
Lydia, you breathed
the plastic air. If Old Brown Catfish
stirred your grave, even she would see the light
of one thousand shards of man-made sky.

 

 

Annalise Lozier is a sixteen-year-old student living in Wisconsin. She has been published in The Universalist Herald, and has received three silver keys from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for Poetry, Prose, and Flash Fiction. She participates in track, cross country and mock trial, and spends her free time reading and writing.