William James

WHEN I AM OCEANS OF BLOOD, I WILL LEARN TO SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF GOD
 

& if I try to resist the heirlooms in my bones
bending me so hard the words bubble
effortlessly to the surface, pour from my wrists
like my mouth is a broken faucet, a stuck valve
swollen with rust, if prayers spill from my belly
like bloodshed, if these scissored fault lines
covering my veins are sacraments,
if every keloid scar marring my flesh
brings me another droplet closer to heaven,
if I am sacrifice, if my fingers draw to a pinch
around thin steel, if I am bleached bone & china plate,
if this glistening silver tooth in my hand loosens
a pound of bubbling fat from all the body
my arm can reach, am I suddenly a prayer?
A penance? If my mouth is filled with copper,
enamel, flecked with chips of tooth & gum,
my lip chewed to gnarled fiber from concentrating
so fiercely on the hum of pulse that I can see it –
a writhing coil of angry serpents buried
under tendons trapped, if I am given unto myself
the key, the picked lock, if there is so much blood
on my tongue it catches fire, if the flames purge
rot from my throat, will the blade be burned clean,
or made holy – every slash, every bite,
every blossoming fountain of rosewater & saline –
holy! All that I am. Holy.

                                    
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