When the pit boiling out the center of me licks up, spits its pitch to coat and sizzle, soak up into my brain stem, again again lapping back, coating coating, thick and unrelenting, until the walls will suddenly give out, slough off and slip down my shoulder blades, down through my elbows, soldering joints along the way, slowing the further it down it rolls, crawls, creeps an inch per night, paralyzing my dreams, preying on my sleep until this morning, with fingers stiff and fevered brain, I edge my pain over the page to let the black drip out, drool and dribble, trickle until the little left there to leak can only leave my hand and heart stuck sound and still, asleep for another solid month.
If I can never find a moment each day where my mind will loosen its white-matter grip on my eyes, my rigid swollen fingerbones, my frozen coated tongue, I will imagine a song for you. Slowly, slowly. What follows is not a confession but a prelude: that I haven’t sung for some time does not show a lack of love, know that now. My silence is little more than lazy, frightened listing on only slightly stormy seas, in sight of shore even, in it only just above my knees; too scared to swim, I stand and shiver until my feet become sand, my heart glass. But if you have been waiting until your wishes were all tapped out, to the rhythm of blink-broken stares and cold shoulders shuffling by, feel free to shatter me, do not stifle the silence any longer, blister me with screams that this pen can be more than just a stick stroked in my hand, rubbing against nothing. Carve this pen instead into a shovel and show me how to dig holes deep and drop enough seed; cast my face toward the burning sun then fill me—slowly, slowly—with cool water until I burst with voice and color. What follows is not a coda, only a caesura: broken images aside, I love you and I will sing again.
I’ll know my name as it’s called again.