FEATURED WRITER: GREG BAYLES
He carves me from the canvas—
sharp, graphite bones. Sovereign
hands that animate and amputate
with softer lines and bleeding
watercolors on penciled skin.
Then rivulets of blue and red
running, twisting through my wrists,
and thick oil paints, layer
on layer, and coat after coat of
red, red, gently—tender caresses
on my hips, my legs, my
chest. He paints my breasts,
and I, his cheeks with scarlet.
Still, I offer him no sigh
of my stolen breath.
My iron brow and carbon clavicles
defy his affectation.
Scarlet of cochineal upon my lips
is the shattered hulls of female insects.
My fat, the rendered fat of calves.
The shadows on my skin? Carbon:
charred animal bones, these my many souls.
These my harvest:
I am desolation.
Your angled razor on
my cracked mosaic skin
cannot defile: though with every fiery drop
of your indignation, I grow thinner,
thinner, I shed this tabernacle gladly.
I am more than these pigments,
these gesso ligaments, more than
handfuls of dust to one day vanish
on the wind. I myself will wash away these
indelible pigments from my empyrean soul,
and tomorrow you shall wake
to find the paint has dried,
the spirit fled. I am
eternal Shiva, I am
annihilation. I am
the echo of your solitude, and
I fear no turpentine:
I drink destruction ever laughing.