The wet heat loosens our skin. Unstitches us from ourselves.
What could we do but let it.
We drag our carcasses alongside us like drunks, like fresh kills,
down the deserted dirt roads,
kicking up billowing blossoms of dust
we no longer bother to choke on.
Our blood is loud against the hushed anti-
hum of the air. Our blood is loud against the sound
of what was and lives no longer. Our blood hits the air
and turns an unspeakable shade of blue.
At night we pin our skins down against the ground—
dagger into ankle, penknife to shoulder
—to deny them entry into our dreams. Safer
to dream of nothing. To make of our heads
dark vacuums, cradles for static. Our hot skins cry
and whine and writhe, but still we keep them out.
In the morning they are limp like gone things,
but we know they, unlike us, are just playing
at death, and we coax them awake. A twig
dragged on the cracked sole of the foot, ears
twisted between sharp fingernails. They jump back
onto us with the frenzied quickness of wild horses.
What could we do but let them.
Shannon Hozinec lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work has appeared in Thrush, SWWIM, The Hunger, and elsewhere.