With Tiger Force

In the dream, I pack big boxes, little boxes.
To travel the distance, indifference in parting.
Where am I going, I ask. The mirror replies
with a two-eyed wink, When did it matter?
How the moonlight shines off empty glass.
I paint walls into brilliance. To mimic
the breath caught vacant. A candle burns.
Bach plays a youth. To let go.
A blue-fire glance, his stomach leaps
at my throat. Breath hard and quick.
                       At the zoo, we watch
a Siberian tiger pace under our feet.
Through bridge slats, a flash of black,
then white. A hint of the new. A peppermint
under the tongue. Nothing between the sheets.
Paring my onionskin, I bleed in the car.
The body is water, he says, stroking a wound
the length of my hair. Waking. Pulse.
                       I could die remembering
only the whites of the eyes, a little gray lost
in a daughter’s. She is not in the dream.
She is an alter boy carrying the Eucharist.
We toast to the body, eat of the flesh.

Role Play #[ ]

In the morning, I will play. Purple crocus underneath an oak tree. Branches
thick and sturdy. I grow wisteria around the trunk. Sweet peas. I plant
uneven rows. Continue. I want to know. A bleating lamb driven past a gate to
the dark wood. This is nothing new, and new, who knew? Into compartments,
neatly labeled boxes—kitchenware, old clothes, living. I question the
uniqueness of skin, soft, pliable from expansion, contraction. An egg bursts
its hard, thin shell. Hard-boiled, a fleshy sensation on the palate,
yolk—the yellow of Early Christian iconography, a sun and the tiniest flower
at the foot of a horse.

When I Think about Love

A little girl beats her fists inside,
wails behind the walls of my heart:
under a rock she hides.

Her ankles and wrists are bone
from starvation; she can barely
walk or speak. Her throat was
bound. I can hear her moans
when a hand brushes my waist.

She curls her head back, allows
the tears to fall silent. If there
were long caresses, she might pad
around the room, hungry. Oh,
the game in her eyes.

Ocular Rewritten

We take out your glass eye in pieces.
Tweezers pull the occasional tissue
from open socket. The implosion bleeds
tears down your cheek. That instant I watch
the anger behind a blue eye burst
into flame. You lift a hand
to hollow oracle, crouch on the ground
like a sock in the gut. Break.
The heat of a room lends
nothing to frostbitten streets in December,
save a frozen fragile prosthetic orb.
Bleeding and screaming
as you pound the sidewalk.
I take your hand.
The lens of my cunt opens and closes
too quickly. We were going for a tree
and electric lights to end here
caressing wounds at the foot of a bed.
A glass of water dilutes the flesh
in pink clouds. Shorn eye sinks.
I am bleeding down my inner thigh
in snow. Muslin sheets stained
yellow and red. I kiss your open socket.
Swirl a tongue in the fibers.
Iron and sweat.

Alifair Skebe is a poet and artist living and working in Albany, NY. Her
poems have appeared in a number of publications both in print and online
including Sulphur River Literary Review, Poems and Plays, Diner, 32 Poems,
Philament, and Big Tex[t]. Her poetry/artist book chapbook is _Love Letters:
Les Cartes Postales/Postcards: Les Lettres d/Amour_ (Basilisk Press 2004).

© 2005 Underground Voices