I wanted to know about
This destructive power
That is inside us
Said connected to
Venus crossed the sun
What of this.
As the transposition of drugline
This drama of addiction as sweet revenge
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
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,
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,
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?
squinting to yellow undergrowth
savored evidence of spirit
the open cereus
a spine most days, vehicle, vein, incense, or tapestry
the visible sight of the conjured
the night is something you
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
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
The boy singing:
Wisteria. Morning glory. The white caps
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.
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
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
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
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
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.