RETURN by Shanita Bigelow

/ / Issue 15

I acknowledge salt
in my palm, weight
of furnace in my ears.
I signed contracts with
lilacs and marigolds,
assumed depth
of voice, its sound
in my head. I plead
with my body,
ask her to believe
in salt again, exchanges
between tense and subject,
verbal altercations,
the mendacity
of pelvis and spine—
they represent
the best of me, offerings
to the calamity
of present promises: I live
in spaces, majestic and brutal:
vulture’s wings, the sun
that cooks off mites. Spaces
that collude to inject
salt beneath my nails,
to break skin
where creases have
already impaled voices
that rest in them. I
listen for returns,
healing and resin,
pine needles to pry
myself from them.