— for Andrew Smith 1980-2021 “Nature invented bodies so water could party” but this week it won’t stop raining. I refuse
to close windows it’s so cool for late June and everything is damp,
encourages mycology, curiosity as the world spores into space, but this humidity situates
into a cloud forest memory of paper on the verge of hosting mold, skin and eyes
never dry, treetops outside my window catching drops and letting go. Precipitation
is a cycle. You died a month ago, left the party right when it was getting good
or at least interesting again, your body sent to fire, evaporation of temporal
host. Disintegration. When nothing makes sense I revisit the hope that at least we got
a new interstitial guide. I want us to meet again at the lunar teahouse in a different
dimension, hit the intergalactic stripclub afterwards, but first we must sip enriched tea,
enhance whatever vehicle we’re occupying, catch up and rave together like days past that will never
happen again. Eventually everything — impulse, inebriation, our time together — wears off.
Until then I fling open windows, take rainwalks with no umbrella, let the wet fabric
of this moment saturate clothes and hair so that when I make it home, water is ready
to go: I crank the music of you so loud that I can’t hear loaded complaints
from neighbors, knees, time’s passage, grief. Is this how we are to party now?
Ash and Ember
Some time around Christmas I got a rash on my eyelid, finally saw the dermatologist right after Valentine’s Day. Those six weeks
made me want a red eyeshadow, reclaim infected shade. Makeup is not my forte but I have learned which friends to ask. A cardboard box
arrived one week later: “Ash and Ember” brand in a hue named Viscera. I opened the package, used fingers to smear it on healing lids. As if
a wand. Wanting. What is it about a wound that draws us in? Ash and Ember: [OPEN OPEN OPEN]
I have been burned and staple-grafted back together. How lucky it was mostly hand, not face. Forehead just a touch singed, hair grew back
by next season. Ash and Ember: return to carbon. Kohl eyeliner another tool in my beauty kit, still using a stick from that last trip
to India: wax and ash. Return. The compost into which we plant ourselves makes stories grow. Myths that die like flowers a whole field of them.
-- Jesica Davis (she/her) is a poet and technical writer from Chicago. She’s an Associate Editor for Inverted Syntax literary journal whose work has appeared in Dream Pop, Storm Cellar, streetcake magazine, The Laurel Review, Kissing Dynamite, and other places. Sometimes she makes poemboxes, which are sculptural interpretations of her poems.