Dissociative Mythology (Eleanor Claire)

lie to me

tell me you always / knew my karst / topography, my limestone bones / tell me you seduced from me / the cyphers to my unbecoming / the combination to unlock my / sternum into a sinkhole / to turn my shudders / into seismic heaves / you always knew / the prosody of / my dissolution / how the rhythms / of your reasons / create their own / morphology /

I burn sulfuric / bright rhymes and / and off-beat promises / I am the swift-smolder into sudden darkness / lend me your candlelight / my corrosion / a liability, but I / swear, the rubble / of my catacombs / is steady /

lie to me / tell me of convalescence / of awakening into prayers / into the forging / of new tongues / into the litany & supplications / into the subtle traces / of ritual & invocations / scarring my skin / I am begging for auscultation / for someone to listen to the hush-flow of my blood / to find my off-beat circadian rhythm / in time with their own /

tell me that this / fecund breath of mine / inspires seedlings / along my spine / tell me that these / exhalations can / sustain my limbs / through abscission / swear to the madness / of the moons that you know / how to rephrase inconsistencies as truth / how to twist insults into sustenance / how for someone to love me / every fervent inch / they too must bask in madness /

I am not evergreen / blame my deciduous / skin, shedding itself / to reveal stranger & stranger / blame my sacrifice / to imaginary gods / blame the first snowfall / with its silent crystalline / deceptions / blame the flamed rampage through my skeleton / the burning of my skin /

tell me I didn’t brave the winter / just to dig my own grave / tell me that / my spine is a mountain / range, that my forests / will keep me safe / lie to me / whisper that the weight is not mine to bear / blame the city / and the skyscrapers / beaten pavement and bloody streets / blame everything / but me, just teach me to grow evergreen /

tell me that my foliage is / only camouflage / and that this forest / fire was coincidence / I am not evergreen / I am lace-cloaked / liability, I am / cover-collapse into darkness / I am cavernous limestone cenotes / built from calcic calibrations / the remnants of a century / undersea / leftover bones eventually fusing / I am / begging for you / to lie to me / tell me that I can / become evergreen //



I was not born red-blood wild,
or maybe I was, thrust
from Zeus’ furious skies
the cast-off shocked demigod
spurned from stray thunderbolts,
his overwrought fingertips trembling
in the humid summer winds

maybe I was born fire
and cosmic clashes
maybe it was Dionysus
who started the slow-trickle
of red wine through my veins
maybe I am sewn from
May’s fickle rains
and angry clouds

maybe I was born red-blood wild,
fire galvanized in silence and
thunderstorms fed by the sea
maybe by now, Zeus has
forgiven me for transforming
flames into a quiet smolder
for tempering the echoes
by smothering them
in the cavern between
my thighs, for trying
to quiet his skies
when he gifted me
with his violent storms


accidental suicide note

I pray for rain – I pray for the
slow  trickle down, how salt-
water dilutes to brine, the
inevitable coalescence of sea
and sweat and silence

I pray for the  irrevocable baptism
of the skies, palms upturned, open
wide, waiting for manna from
heaven, or  Zeus’ thunderbolts or
for Baal to finally ignite his pyre,
waiting for the fire escape to
unhinge to guide my ascension
into the smog-filled heavens,
cement and breezeblock rooftops
fading into the skyline

I pray for the deluge and
desaturated early morning light,
how the weeping skies leave an
outline of my shivering skin,
fetal-curled and sighs stretching
over building edges stumbling
feet and numb fingers faltering
over buttons & zippers
shedding the burden of cotton
against flesh

I pray for transfiguration of being
in my marrow by the hollow bass &
bone vibrations drums echoing
thunder I pray for lungs not
asthmatic, able to breathe once
submerged I pray for the last surge
of electricity

I pray for rain – the sweet
sputter turning downpour  toes
curling over rooftop’s down-
ten stories to my tower of
Babel I pray for rain and
heaving skies I pray for the
pirouette; the plunge  from
rooftops I pray for pavement
to break my fall
I pray, I pray


home is

I collected jawbones
wandered upon in thick
forests, teeth spilling over
and I prayed myself
Samson, strong enough
to tear down columns,
or at least not
abandon home
for the protection
of rivers and trees

I no longer stumble
upon skulls; I search
for their dirtied veneer,
like stained glass whispering
stories of paths travelled,
formina their own cartography
leading me to a
home I’ve never known

I still wake in the
middle of the night
aching to return and
surrender, to find myself
tethered to the red-brick
nightmare, to the floodwaters
and rising tides

home is red-faced stagnation,
it is the slow-dim dusk of
eternal summer
home is slammed doors like
fractured bones, like crumbling
walls, like tectonic plates
creating a mountain of
rubble where once
there had just been gardenias,
home is flat-lining for
two minutes and twenty seven
seconds just to be
electrocuted into resurrection

but then the electrocution
becomes bright-light fireworks
(like you, they are formed from
discarded books)
and then the scythe of
her tongue is an embrace
(besides, you make it so
difficult to be reaped)
and didn’t the sharp blade
of home feel like
love anyway?

I collected jawbones
fresh-cleaned of carrion,
placed them one
by one and searched
their topography
for any fissures
to lead me

I’ll follow any line
that promises
a home

Eleanor Claire
is a Chicago transplant from South Florida, still trying to get used to the seasons. You can see her other published works in Mad Hat Literary Journal, Black Heart Magazine, Courtship of Winds, The Cape Rock, and others.