Sara Marron

The Petrichor Phoenix

 

I.

Careening around Potomac Crossing

with a Camel Filterless hanging from your lips

just like Tom Waits used to smoke

and besides the slit between your legs

you are just like him

smoking and drinking until conscious

is only a word you were taught once

 

blends of coffee and whiskey as dark

and deeper than your cunt

soaking their tasters in the

thick juices twanged with something

that reminds you of sweetness

wilder, though, like the ancient A.T.

the green tunnel slinking off the road

as you take a turn too fast in the squat

Honda Civic you feel as if someone has

just punched you in the stomach

because you swallowed all the air around you at once

 

but you grab the wheel just in time

and yank the machine back into its proper

place between the lines and on your bare

legs you feel a tingle like the memory of an orgasm

 

remembering the word “conscious”

you realize it’s the cigarette

fallen from the lips of your mouth

burning through your summer skin

without meaning to you think of

Sunflower Sutra and how Brooklyn

industrials must have stood up to the

blazing ball of fire returning to the horizon

but you are soft and sweet like honeysuckle

and you burn

you didn’t mean to, but you burned.

 

II.

Glass clinks, you remind yourself

when picking out which bottles of

vodka will fit into the hole you cut

into the lining you of your purse and

 

which labels match the copy of Leaves

of Grass you clutch like the New Testament

pulling out your copy of Howl only when

you’re intending to start a conversation about

 

Sunflower Sutra screaming to you when

you feel trapped by Helios and all the

myths surrounding education and how you

lament falling in love because

all it ever did was twist your face

towards a never motionless Sun

 

If it’s all the same, you tell the nurse,

I’ll just wear this and you can throw away

the clothes you cut off me but if you

could find me a pair of shoes that

would really help

 

Bells tinkle against the glass door

to the WinCo Foods and you remember

not to steal the glass bottles because

they clink but it probably doesn’t matter

without a purse to hide them in

 

you grab what you came for

and run.

 

III.

The scar on your ankle is still

purplish-prasine which you suppose

means that it’s healing because at least

it’s not the crimsonish-black of dried blood

the body tried to heal the gape with–

 

and without alcohol for 13 entire days

the skin wrapping your bones all

looks prasine and plucked of lines

as you struggle to stand from the wheelchair

new flesh stretched tight around where the holes once were—

 

places that you leaked out of in droplets and

then streams of warm fluid that made you

cry and cry and cry until it felt like you were a

waterfall pouring gossamer threads from clouds

like some kind of god exhausted by omnipotence–

 

IV.

Wishing you required only water to grow

you envy the plants making their food from

one element and inspiration to follow the rising

star that stares at you through drawn eyelids

demanding a walking waking consciousness that

you are learning to use and know rather than

just refer to

 

pausing to read a Shelley poem and lapping

up drips of water from a plastic container

that goes in and goes out of you and

everyday feels like this drain of water from

your body and you wonder if the drain

will ever Empty

 

the customer buys a cup of coffee from you

and slurps it hot and you’re grateful in that

moment that the monied exchange is for

consumption of the water strained over beans

and not of your pussy juices leaking

over mouths

 

falling into a bus seat you are soaked

by the May rain and the used smell of wetness

and sweat collecting on pressed collared

business folk plugged in separately to their

own private worlds electrifying their ear drums

With songs of ourselves.

 

V.

East facing windows are Aeolian lyres to

the sunrise in a place you carry the keys

for which, every now and again, is so surprising

to notice because they are your keys and

they unlock your door and no one fears you’ll

burn it all down

 

but perhaps they should, you think, perhaps

they should worry about me in the ashes

of my past lives lived one-thousand miles per hour

at a time and uncollectable in poetry and too

plainly tragic and non-unique for prose, you think

of the fire in this way

 

pulling the portable space heater close to

exposed legs under a twenty dollar dress

from Old Navy you turn back to check your

email and start to panic at all the expectations

they have for you, you the little bird still spitting

ash from its mouth

 

Little bird, you call me, and I blush because

you love birds and that must mean you love me

and the hollows of my bones fearing not even

the entrancement of the sun but remembering

The Ichorus story, wondering if they had you

In mind

 

your phone rings and the caller ID shows

a woman you met last night at a meeting someone

still burning and the fantasy of the flame

calls to you as you answer the phone and

in that instant you see the span of Phoenix’s

wings and are safe in knowing you will always be in love

with the burn.

 


Sara Marron is a writer from New York City currently living in Washington, D.C., studying to become a lawyer. She believes in the power of words in every application, with imagination adjudicating as the great equalizer. She has two cats and uses a chess table for meals. Read more of her work here: https://sites.google.com/view/saracmarron

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