BY LINDSAY DAIGLE
I was about to say limbs
but no, there’s another question
of what happened that night, some storm
caught in a net, black-thick-push
through woven holes. There are still limbs
that push too, that stretch and reach,
some pale and forgotten.
Some weak and heavy, holding
other limbs. Behind the lightning,
there are eyes. His eyes, she said, and cracked
another thunder-limb. No one
wants to be seen by it, and the reaching
out for no one like caught-rain,
supposed to wash away, held by gasps,
rain trying to fall, choosing to plunge,
but someone chose to stop it. I could have
said when, not why. Or, white.
His eyes drowned in white rain.
It was whiskey-white, taught to weep.
II. What the Devil Looks Like
Cheek bones like fists behind a taut curtain.
Like gambling with eternity, like sweat.
Far too much water there and all around.
Limits, a bottom, seeing the bottom, touching it.
An act of God. No, it wasn’t.
Anti-social. No, I’m not.
Laughing, laughing, laughing, laughing, staring.
Wide wild white smile, fire eyes, fire lipstick.
150 sleeping pills.
Sirens. The sirens.
Eyes won’t blink, man reaching for nothing.
Like child-safety locks, like running out of time.
Diagonal-cut cinder blocks and lies.
Apartment key-scheme hidden in a bush.
Nostrils that squeeze shut, erupt black-open, the inhale-exhale of a stolen hallelujah.
III. Signs & Symptoms
You will shiver. You will be cold in warm temperatures. But you will sweat at night. Your breathing will be shallow. Your throat will creak at each exhale. You will picture it each time you close your eyes. You will choose not to sleep. You will stutter, except when crying out. Your unblinking eyes will search back and forth, much like his when you found him. You will hold your hands together so tightly as if you will lose one if you let go. You will forget to eat. You will curse each person who compliments how skinny you’ve become. You will drink. You will turn on every light and TV in the house because you’re afraid of the dark, afraid of being alone. You will drink alone. You will not be able to write. Your body will tense and shake each time you hear sirens. You will dream of death, disasters, losing your way, hiding from beings that can only represent evil. During thunderstorms, you will cover your ears and squint like a child. Body sucked dry, salted self-pity, pageless fists.
V. Botrytis Cinerea
Do you know the voice?
It will be easier if you open your mouth,
now breathe in through your nose.
Do you have your poems?
The noble rot has spread
to the next sentence, paired
tonight with foie gras
like whisper-tinted orange pith.
Late harvest fragility,
asking something of the author.
Viscous, yet acidic,
yet killing you. Tongue-weight
is no excuse. Breathe in
through your nose. Shriveled grape,
Does it still hurt? Sweetness
and sharp drips that crust. Oh, sweet
rot, sugar gray fuzz, what should I do?
Scribbles are not palatable flights
of stairs, cartoon-flavored impressions. Use your voice.
All menisci are watery. We had it pretty good
in those poems, sure. It will get easier.
Lindsay Daigle is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where she teaches undergraduate creative writing and composition. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in New York City. Her work has been featured in the Columbia Poetry Review, Barn Owl Review, Quarterly West, Artichoke Haircut, and elsewhere.