Christina Vega-Westhoff


I wanted to know about

This destructive power

That is inside us

As conjecture.

Said connected to

Morning star



Venus crossed the sun

What of this.


Where Placed

As the transposition of drugline

This drama of addiction as sweet revenge


Polluted plotline

To be killed by the ways in which forsaken


The mother of silence

Of a building built between the hands


Every which way of saline

Nurse to Medea: you were not there


You did not see

You are a whole country apart


Bloodline as agony wrench

Toothless motherface


Sense the words trapped inside

Regret as it is a loss and further destruction


Pipe to face pipe to face pipe to face

It might have been gradual


Dams will rise upon your face

What blood is left heaving


Some death poured upon the body

The most mis—


Leaps of violence

Death and death and more death


Only so horrific if mother you

If torn apart by one’s own hands



through creosote branches,

beauty spilled

old white haired woman, Tongs of Witches,

out the mouth


it is terrible

how we smell her, turns uncertain

three long spines spilling from a calf muscle

through cacti, or pushes along the way,

guests scrambling


smell this;


the boy passing his



a spilled tongue, the smell of ghost’s



a quarter lit moon, the body’s settling blood.

Already it has been here,

old and white.

Of that, yes, the rebellion. Yes uncertain. No.


fingers, his, blooming along stone,

curved resolution.                        His spine somewhat caved,

the one missed muscle.                               No

the hollow of the stone after all what is paid to use this stone.

The terrible resolution. To place the captive imperfection,

Where? Coming in



between spine and shoulder blade

of the old wash, or of the Carrara, there is housed

this tension of false decision,

the boy will need to be reminded

Didn’t you wash your hair yesterday?

No, I—

squinting to yellow undergrowth

savored evidence of spirit

fullest orb

scent of


the open cereus

a spine most days, vehicle, vein, incense, or tapestry

the visible sight of the conjured

you blink

the night is something you

sleep through

not the body,

but the consciousness

the moon already waxing

the body can prepare you/you can prepare the



floods erupting as the heel lifts


to hold the stone is not the decision to kill an enemy or make one

David holds the stone/is made of stone,

the veins of his hand erupt out ward

Not a second and yet all seconds

the water burns in its vessel


not in how we think of ward. East. Home. Risen sun.


the woman, old, may be living


blooming, her body is still a part of time. It does not stop it.

Petals open, close.

The stick with its knobs in the

savory ground,

Like beauty, the boys cries,

A reminder I have made song.



one should have a defect.

Carving to unearth the soul (already there),

To steady this silence.

The cameras flash. We step again on spines, that orange, stick to

our toes.

The boy singing:

Wisteria.                                    Morning glory.                   The white caps

of mountains.


If it is a moment, is it stillness,

Is it death.

Will the young boy come back to


he should not come back. Not for coming back. Not for coming to.


For the simple beauty of its climbing tangled



It is not what comes before or after. The series of tricks.


Into the room you will not be ready. Hollow to the east.


That it comes for a moment.

Still open.   Rainwater.


The difference…




to correct the myth so that it is not adapted. Howard Bell Wright

wrote what he edited and asked for approval,

and approved and asked for editing,

copying first the words of an old woman.

The boy did not give old white haired woman to soil.

She sank down in the wash and asked never to leave.

She asked too, for beauty. The creator laughed.

Her spine then made the same brown withering spine, only of

another material. 

        Her hair the night blooming cereus, this time delicious…

The woman in Wright’s recorded version has a means of pause,

The match diverged, body

of course handed over,                        for the daughter who asks,

calls to her from stones.

She in turn calls to what is inside and outside of her.

Simultaneous twisting, divergent, is this not what it

is called?

Strangely, another woman adapts the story again, so it is read

aloud when the snakes are roaming, during the time when this is

not allowed. In the summer this is not to be read aloud.


what did he use to carve this stone so there are veins in the hand

rising out?

The woman’s hand rests on

the pew, so that the wrist, and her blue veins, her silken gooseneck


Little girls’ eyes. All the stories of the

old bracelet.

        The preacher says David. King David.

The preacher says Goliath.

There are stones in the woman,

called grandma, ’s bracelet.

There is cheap marble on the


Leaning from the balcony looking down.

How do you remain there, in that other place, for three years,


Walk through desert finding

still how to speak and laugh—

    Conjuring, and not invoking? Is that the

part that horrifies?

If they had become mad—

There might be relief—

     If we smell the beauty will we not forget?

And if the jacket smells of ash?


something then, past duty,

past the prayer to die and wake in youth,

of how we walk forward


CHRISTINA VEGA-WESTHOFF is a poet, translator, and aerialist living in North Carolina. Her poetry most recently appears or is forthcoming in Horse Less Review, LIT, A Perimeter, Estudio Nuboso's SUELO, and Truck. Her translations of Panamanian writer Melanie Taylor Herrera’s work appear in Asymptote, Ezra, Metamorphoses, and PRISM International.