How do our bodies make it through this: your softness cottoned in your throat, the long unbroken line of you only useful for redacting.
Someone in this room a killer, someone in this house a blinking eye in portrait on the wall, body not making it, blood in blackened puddles on its back, the spine’s white commas catching on each stair.
A door locked from outside, the body in here with us; someone in this room is out to get you: the devil in his jackal’s skin, the neighbor with his window silhouette, his wife—long gone—still lying in their bed.
How does every story end, twin killers looking in each other’s eyes, and poised above, a knife. Or something. Right? My nerves are bad tonight; remind me. Some movie where ghost family pulls the badguy through the floor. The long-healed fractures in your skull that show he really meant it. Pendant knocks its bruises on your chest
—you run down hallway, dizzy, circumspect, the last breath held like flowers to your heart, the unlocked door an omen you forgot.
You leave it closed; he gets you. Now the chandelier spins, glitters you apart,
the skeptic grasps at straws for explanation. The fraud lays out his tarot cards, the family photos shattered on the floor, this hand that taps your shoulder: we will live in this house forever, me and you and long-dead daughter, gold coins on face, the eyes all white behind them.
Some days it’s like your bones are glass: they smash and smash and then they don’t stop hurting, but you live your life or something. Camera fixed on grave dug in the forest, perfect world of no retaliation,
favorite song on replay as you, shovel in hand, the moonlight cutting through the evergreens, declare, at last, game over.
Bright red snowglobe, chemical reaction;
Caramel blonde and eyes blurred out with poison, the organs leeching these dark toxins through your racetrack. Whatever helps you sleep at night in unmarked rows, well-hidden:
one day you’ll point them out for clemency
Your true love set in aspic;
your true love with the eyes boiled out, blood pudding.
red bones pushing out from your apostasy, a mask you made from someone else’s face. You guys are all the same: the silver in your mouth, and then the taste for pretty things that melts to madness.
You’d paint the same white eyes on everyone, the same old shakes and stills,
your true love’s sweetbreads on your butcher block
Your body, balloon animal, too soft:
peel your skin and everything falls out, your heartblood sublimated into ghost, a spiral staircase winding down your chest. A faultline snapping fractals in the dirt. You fall inside. Your flashlight dies.
Your mind, too soft: bleached blonde through bones and lapsed to someone else. You reincarnate—there, you see it, other person’s face, now magnify / enhance. It’s probably nothing. This stutter-step in your conditioning; get over it.
Cathedral with its windows stained in black.
Chelsea Margaret Bodnar is a bloody handprint on that car window in Titanic. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: The Bennington Review, Menacing Hedge, Leopardskin & Limes, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Freezeray, NANO Fiction, and others. Her first chapbook, BASEMENT GEMINI, was recently published by the wonderful ladies at Hyacinth Girl Press.