Tanya Larkin


Put me out, put me out. I fevered my way
out of school again. Then forgot to leave the lie:

the play at palsy, my best friend, mercury &
a crown of sighs. I was burnt tongue, grump girl,

doped up on my souring skin, nursed napward
by colorless, toxic seconds. My dream was brief;

it briefed me. The book I was reading bit me
& I tried to bite it back, but left the dream

for another, jawing at the air. There I loved
my name as if it were not my own, as if

all the Tanyas lived in an Tanya-forest
without bodies—I could smell them burning

supper. Now all my flesh is glass & all life
just a picnic of reflection: there's flame & then

there's flame, turning itself inside out for you—
in invitation. Sleight of mouth, a blue door

in the flame's middle, the white-hot knob,
an idle girl's tabernacle. Ah, exile, how easy

it is to fall for myself, to erect &
embroider my body. I am a flower.

& a condition. A supine sniper in bed,
myopic — picking off the swan in the corner

(twilight's muscle) a bullet through its neck.
How else should I measure my leisure?

No skinned knees, no gravel in my palm. No
blood but in words, which isn't blood at all,

but a devil's devil finding my hands & placing
them wherever they are not needed.

© 2005 Electronic Poetry Review