I. Duplicitous Blood
Once, my blood moved nothing like red; then,
ache cut down to the veins, overthrew
the blue liquid my body breathes through;
now that fickle drip sticks
beneath my skin in purpled pools, confused, seeking
a new retreat, as if water or wine could take its place,
as if the sun could stretch far enough to touch and warm me,
as if red could travel far enough back
to resurrect a girl
felled in the grass at sunset.
II. Defeated Wings
My back strains beneath
the weight of a black, broke divinity. Holy leaves flap
in the breeze, but their words don’t restore me.
I can’t flee this beaten body.
My mind can’t find a peak to soar to; the weight
of memory tethers me.
III. Unblinking Eyes
I’d saved my gaze
to search for a hero,
only to find
a predator’s conceit.
Now salt singes my sockets.
Vigilant beacons forget
the comfort of closing, refuse
any respite from their watch.
IV. Hardened Hands
Foolish digits will forget
how they almost submitted, cringe
at the thought that they once sought
another’s. Battle-bruised knuckles
proved useless, shriek as they bend.
A new mold must be poured.
I swim my hands in.
To burn in gilt now
might make me invincible
once the heat’s depleted.
V. Forking Tongue
He might say, with this spoiled mouth, I slander. But he split me.
My tongue senses the stench he left in stereo.
Trespasser treading the end of this plank,
you’re the venom I retch from.
VI. Snaking Mane
No body could bear such warfare.
My head delivers riddles
of persistent hisses—
springs, slithers, claims
my skin’s terrain
and crowns my fate—
thanks to him,
the oblivious birth of my serpents.
Raegen Pietrucha writes, edits, and consults on creative and professional bases. Her chapbook, An Animal I Can't Name, took first place in the 2015 Two of Cups Press' competition. She received her B.A. in creative writing from the University of Arizona and her M.F.A. in poetry from Bowling Green State University, where she was an assistant editor for Mid-American Review. Her poetry has been published in Cimarron Review, Puerto del Sol, Cold Mountain Review, and other journals. You can connect with her at raegenmp.wordpress.com.