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Tarantelle

July 25, 2011
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BY KELLY PFLUG-BACK

Every day she pulls my body from the ground
and wrings the water from my clothes anew,
cradling my head in her hands
when she takes me to the river and lowers me in.
I am born again, she tells me.
Its surface is troubled, broken
where she wades.

She wants me to forget my name
and press my cheek into her belly’s smooth alter.
She wants to wrap the bones of fish into my winding sheet
and sow me in the ground like a seed,
my skull crowning from the dirt once the frost has thawed.

In her kitchen she smooths my hair
with a fishbone comb; I close my eyes
and I can feel the rats walk across me with their sharp feet,
naked tails gripping the catwalks of my arms for balance.
She folds paper and cuts the shapes of people,
unfolding accordion-pleated garlands
into a fanning arc between her hands.
Every day they rise from dust to destroy each other again;
they coat the ground in their white ash,
settling while she paints crude animal shapes on my body
with her set of stinging brushes.
They paw at me with their blunt hooves
and I feel nothing,
braying panicked screams
when they bound across my abdomen
away from the candle flame’s paraffin torch.

My shadow dances a death-tarantelle
under a canopy of powerline transmission towers,
the frost-hard dirt furrows
cracking the soles of my feet like old leather.
Small leaves have grown where the callous rends
and seeps my blood;
It rains in fat teardrops from the fanned tips of my fingers,
beading like sweat on my skin
where the flames curl and lick.

She wants to see me lined in shadows;
in the cut-up shade of her broom-bristle wings.
She wants to press me through the filter of her laced fingers
and hold my face while I drown, choked in pearls;
my blood’s furnace quelled
to a snuffed-out wick.

 

See Kelly’s site here

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. kelly permalink
    October 2, 2011 5:34 pm

    Hey, it’s a total honour to have this appear in 4sm, and thanks for supporting me and other G20 defendants!!

    Just one little thing though, my last name is spelled Pflug-Back, not Pfug-Back…not to worry, it happens all the time.

    Keep up the amazing work, and thank you once again.

Trackbacks

  1. Still Not Free | Kelly Rose Pflug-Back

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