Poetry: From “Dead Year” –Anne Cecelia Holmes

from Dead Year

I write a letter
to call you
animal tongue,
bad biography.
If we were twins
I would stuff you
inside a honeycomb
drenched in gasoline.
I would call you
walloped love
and leave.
The cello makes me
violently sad
so I burrow
into everything
until I am hollow
too. You could
call me a homing
device but I am not
a fucking widow,
not yet.

I have no ear for who
will call me vermin
but I am giving myself
time to invent
a new crisis. I can live
or die by the syrupy
mood I wake up in,
replace my memory
with a thicker pudding.
There is legend
and there lies
the problem. Okay
hurricane, make me
a skinless girl.
Play the siren.
Even though I
have no context
I’m all yours.
I shape my mouth
into a poison halo
and rain.

Believe me this
is not my heartland.

All week has been a study
in temporary paralysis,

tricking my brain
to become as refined

as possible. Frozen
from the heavy poison

in my lungs I talk
in gestures so the silence

is more bearable.
I am all about broken days,

my life to inanely gamble.
I spread my unhappiness

over toast and only rusty
water runs through.

All fluid tries to erode me.
Did you know the body

is just a series of fragile
chambers, which sounds

like tragic drama until
you really think about it.

I have the feeling
of a supremely deranged

being inside me who I
must forgive or else

I suddenly ignite.
I am also terrified someday

I will burn my house down
by near accident and scorch

my memory into ash.
Believe me I do not

believe in resurrection
but sometimes it is difficult

with my whole body
pierced to the ground.

I free myself from
a small eternity
and in the rush
of what I can only
call dumb blindness
I enter the world
as a deep red flare,
as warmth gone
completely unhinged.
Today makes part
of a year and I
stick my dead face
right in. I love
to kneel in fake
apology, kiss
strangers who
need lessons
in graceless
I scream out
in the street
and call it a new
game only I can
play. I call it a year
of hunger I don’t
want to fill. I hold
vigil until someone
cuts me open
to count the rings.

Anne Cecelia Holmes is the author of a full-length poetry collection, The Jitters (Horse Less Press, July 2015), and two chapbooks: Junk Parade (dancing girl press 2012) and I Am A Natural Wonder (co-authored with Lily Ladewig; Blue Hour Press 2011). She is co-editor of Jellyfish Magazine and lives in Western Massachusetts.

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