Heather Corinne Herrmann-Miller
1. A mental hospital.
They chained those beast-people to walls.
Dried feces on gowns,
urine caked on bony thighs.
Overgrown fingernails; skin collected
and hidden in those deep knarled pits.
as sun touches fish-white flesh,
spreads over bodies, hot; searching.
Spotty sky seen through gray eyes
turning back to blue and brown and green.
As they swallow foreign air
into swollen bellies,
ground beneath feet moistening from dropping tears
rolling off the dusty planes of pale and wrinkled faces.
The dirt and muscle of me knotted,
tied, and packed down hard.
Tiny tunnels of air worming
throughout muddied flesh,
my hands shaking and clasped across:
human chastity belt.
Your eyes, spots of light
bright in all that sludge and I breath you in.
Earthquaking my canals,
those hairlines of weakness
that spider-crack throughout.
Rush of you in me; Bedlam.
The way food tastes different
when I use plasticware as opposed to
stainless steel, or if times are good, silver.
The fact that it's April, it's cold, and
I can't smell the air I deserve to have:
the green and white and blue rush
of mowed lawn,
and worms wiggling on cement,
the burst of lilacs and sky,
The man with the smear-of-dirt-across-his-face
long ago, in the office-with-the-windows,
the appointment books,
the vertically grouped pencils in cylindrical ceramic holders.
Him being held by another sticky body,
lumps of flesh welcoming.
Now shuffling on streets, glazed over,
escapee mud released on a
papered and wrinkled cotton body.
Your back against a chain-link fence that
catches your young skin,
a ribbon of flesh tearing
like that slit in her, (push)
turning pink and purple and black, (push)
as sweat beads on a porcelain forehead;
Slippery white body gulping
cold chemical air,
doctor's hands on baby's head, pulling (push)
your hands against your head
pulling the trigger, (snap)
clean bullet into you,
crushing bone and skin and scalp,
backyard compost heap,
while mom's meaty placenta is tossed
in a plastic biohazard container.
Nothing submerges to quite this level,
the thick red blood of submarine self
rushing up against the glass of you,
Your hand once holding my own, over my own,
covering my own, until it ran along her fine, silk, skin.
Mirrored eyes closed against the ceiling of chipped plaster,
once again pumped blood: yours into her.
Part VII Bedlam The Dream
There were blueberries on my cereal in
the lobby of the hotel where I ate.
I wanted the boy behind the counter to
stop laughing when I told him I was from
Connecticut but the state was thick in my mouth,
heavy on my tongue.
A hand over yours.
I pretend not to notice,
and slip into the bend of fire
swimming in your eyes.
Part VIII The Dream Continued
"I always knew this place would be soft," you said
running an index finger along the underside
of the wrist I've scored with my eyes.
You, sitting square in a green garden
with a fat orange tomato.
I pluck your tines from embedding
tiny curved hooks into me.
You bite down on juicy flesh.
"You unravel me," you say.
You feed me jelly beans one, by one, by one,
from the tip of your fingers,
onto my curled pink tongue.
Hard green melting against warm wet mouth,
sucking down on crystallized sugar until
all I am left with
is a soft round bit of gel.
Echoing voices no one hears
in a room again,
bad coffee spilled on public property,
sticky residue like the one you left
inside and all over me;
The animal's listless glazed eyes,
bare flick of orange tiger tail, then
screaming shouting screeching
"I want some more more more more!"
"I want that tiger to come home with me me me dad!"
Through thick iron bars, and sticky fingered waves
of sucker-holding fists,
clenched tightly on goods,
dad says, "seen one animal, seen them all."
Yes, that's true.
Heather Corinne Herrmann-Miller has published poetry in several magazines including, The Contemporary Muse, Patterns, Small Brushes, Alembic, Poetic License, and The California Quarterly. This is her first Internet publication.