My shrine was in the desert.
When my cup and my bowl vanished from the skyline I knew it was time to relocate.
I throw gasoline over the prayer maze, and then climb into my wagon.
Who would I call at the abbey, besides?
As I ride through the eaten formations, a mirage I am particularly fond of looks at me
and refuses my blessing. ‘The cages that you chloroformed are rattling
behind the canvas!’ she warns,
and then evaporates.
Perhaps my human credential was my opacity.
At sunset the light is both nasty and nice
in my robe.
Shame shines through me
like the candied sand in a dingo’s ear.
I decide to build my new shrine in a downstairs bathroom. When I arrive in town
there is a pink gall of soap on the mint sink, and a dried sea urchin.
I hold the dried sea urchin in my hand like Claire Foy’s orb
whenever I pretend to defecate.
In flux, the nature of equivalent exchange is more and less physical than you ever
think it will be.
For example the sins of my bad uncle are desiccating inside a loofah; what I sacrificed
transmutation is hardly chemical.
Absurd New Ways Of Transferring Your Sores To The Silicone
From what I hear at the saloon
there are methods.
As it happens, I am lying in a bath of fluorescent oil
listening to a podcast about mothers who keep their children sick.
When you sleep in a bath every night your dreams become indulgent. I dreamt that
two male pornstars
with tattooed wings were screwing me in midair. Very far below me there was a lip-
that I hoped I would land on when they dropped me.
Interpretation is even more indulgent. I think of a painting that is just a daschund.
In my order nothing is forbidden.
Exile is an electric branch that you take to yourself.
When my shrine stopped being my shrine I did not consider the violence that was
sent to me, but rather how
I could put distance between myself and the canyon I love, the spiders
cartwheeling down the dune.
I have been evil in my time, but I have also been very good.
In the downstairs bathroom the ornaments are archived and accepted. Sometimes I
hold a glass tuna
under running water and the life that erupts and thrashes in my hands makes me
At this stage I do not want time to tell.
Image © N3raf Studios
This poem is featured in the forthcoming poetry anthology Spells edited by Sarah Shin and Rebecca Tamás, the debut publication from Ignota Books. Spells brings together thirty-six contemporary voices exploring the territory where justice, selfhood and the imagination meet the transformative power of the occult. These poems unmake the world around them so that it might be remade anew. Order your copy here.