turpentine

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.

© 2015 peculiar