30. Miranda Gets Caught, Part 2 of 2

There is no nail on her left index finger and it is still bleeding. She is filthy. She is outside in her pajamas. She is not wearing shoes or glasses. It is almost dawn. She is standing in a hole about five feet deep and she is holding a dirty metal box.

“Over here! I see her!” Someone calls, “By the wall!”

Panicking, she covers the box in dirt to hide it and scrambles out of the hole and says, “I’m not going to resist! I’m not—”

But they bring her to the ground and jam the needle in anyway.


Where to Begin

29. Clarke Tries to Leave, Part 1 of 2

Miranda is not going to get them out. This leaves Clarke two options: Either wait and see or escape by himself.

Beating his way out would be easy, but Miranda doesn’t like it when he hurts people or breaks things.

So instead he is going to dig a tunnel by the wall in the far corner of the grounds. Dirt is piled high around him when his left hand jams into something hard. Miranda stirs. His control is slipping.

Before she can take over completely, he digs around the hard thing and pulls a long metal box into the light.


Where to Begin

28. Clarke is Afraid. Miranda is Afraid.

The only sounds are Miranda’s page turning and Lye’s banter with the volunteer librarian.

“So you’re from White Haven?” Lye drawls.

“Does he have to talk to everyone?” Shou hisses under his breath.

Miranda glares at Shou. “It breaks up the monotony.”

Shou winces, embarrassed that she heard him, and then is embarrassed that he winced. “Is there anyone he doesn’t like?”

“No, I’m from Riverdale.”

“What a commute!”

Miranda looks exhausted. Is she sleeping alright? Shou scratches his arm.

At last she says, “Most people, but it takes his mind off of being here,” and returns to her novel.


Where to Begin

Pagan

On your knees at her sepulcher,
mouth your hail marys from memory
thank the names of matriarchs pressed together between lips
thank you mary, thank you sarah
rebecca thank you thank leah you thank rachel thank
thank thank you for skin like sin and
hips like sin and
mouth
holy holy holy
like sin
thank you sin.

Press yours psalms in the palms of her hands
like confession and
devour her like a eucharist like
a sacrifice like meat body blood wine and bread
a feast for shadows pressed into holy atoms between bodies
she is a little death like a growing tree or a belly-rumble landslide,
a vengeful old testament god or a merciful new one—
either way, she will bring rapture soft or hard around your eyes

at first there was darkness
and then everything came alive in her name
and stars exploded and terraformed gods and
landmasses and mountains in the swell of her hips.

she is ocean, she is stone. and she is savior and damnation
but never angel—
don’t call her angel. Don’t
degrade her like that.

On your knees, accolyte,
altar boy, priest,
moan your liturgy against her belly
confess what you know and she will
erase and redraw the stars in your image,
stories and all.

27. After the Storm

She doesn’t sit up.

“They figured out Clarke needs more sedatives,” she mumbles flatly when Lye enters her room.

He pulls her glasses out of his pocket. The left lens is missing. “They should have you a new pair by the end of the week.” He places them on the pillow beside her head.

Miranda’s fingers curl around the hem of his shirt. “Thank you,” she murmurs.

He sits on the bed beside her and runs a hand through her hair. “It’s growing back,” he says lightly.

She doesn’t answer.

He brushes her hair until she cries herself to sleep.


Where to Begin

Krang

to my mother

You told me I was angry until I believed you.
Words packed in my mouth
like a crowded movie theater
cut by the scream of a fire alarm
and the sharp accusation of countless lights.

You throw accusations, sharp, after you’ve run out of plates and
it doesn’t matter if I’m seven or lying because
everyone is scrambling and clawing for the exit but
like a nightmare, the door
only opens inward and it’s pressed shut
by all of these scared hands
alive and looking for a doorknob.

The bone-cracking truth is I’ve
always been (looking for and) scared of the way you
take away your hands.
I’ve laid every stone of my life
around the circle where you
dropped me into existence.

When I find myself running in circles
around my mind,
straight razor in one hand, the past in the other,
I imagine your pelvis cracked like an egg
as I clawed my way out of you.

I must’ve been a bad movie monster—
claw-handed, yolk and white scrambled violently.
Cronenberg (A word not to use, because you don’t know it).
I wonder if it was a relief to be emptied of me
at least until reality was handed back to you (damp-skinned, maybe asleep)
As a cloth-faced doctor sewed you back together below the waist,
fingers alive inside of you.

You and I will never talk about the women or men
I’ve slept with, my fingers alive below other waists, or the way I’ve
lapped up quiet hours of damp skin and the smell of secret places
like a hungry dog, or the way I
lead out all those words, single file, not panicking,
out of the burning movie theater and into unsuspecting other bodies,
where, I hope, they will neither grow nor fester.
If they must emerge, broken eggs, clawing hands,
then I hope they at least have the decency to be dead.
Mostly I hope they burn up before they can break any bones or ruin any names.
That no one needs to be sewn back together in their wake.

Sometimes I wonder about that doctor who
sewed you up. Such a violent, merciless thing to do.
What did he think about the blood, sticky and warm on his hands and
did he pretend not to hear it when you said that I wasn’t
who you thought I would be or
if guilt ever weighed on him for what he resigned you to or
for the angry daughter he packed into your life.

First published in Pulp Literature, Issue 16, Second-Place Winner in the Magpie Award for Poetry.

26. Post-Breakfast Pill Distribution

“I don’t have all day,” snaps the Orderly.

She turns the cup slowly, buying time. Clarke won’t let her lift her arm. He doesn’t want the pills. She doesn’t know what to do.

“Miranda,” Lye says it like a warning.

Shou looks nervously between Miranda and the impatient Orderly.

Her hand shakes, Her grip tightens. Clarke hasn’t been loose in days. He’s mad.

“Please,” she whispers.

“Is this going to be another situation?”

She drops the cup.

Lye has just enough time to gather Shou behind his back before Clarke throws himself at the orderly with a howl of rage.


Where to Begin