When Night Comes Wrapped in Asbestos disguised as clouds rushing from my hair dryer, an ancestor prophesying worst-case scenarios, I think of the girl
who glowed for a glorious moment while blow-drying her horse before the show, before the plug found
the puddle on the stable floor, before the volta. I’m no more a goddess than she was, the horse’s hooves
not yet blacked and polished, mane and tail detangled, braided, saddle waxed, silver adornments shined,
but let me diagram the universe for you, how it was before the second expansion, before there was more to come.
Sometimes the future is served in a tin can opened with a dull blade. Imagine the girl: golden, nervy
in her anticipation, the horse turning its head to nose her shoulder. The calendar had its own idea, bones, flesh
and hair their own answer to the charge. What aftertaste following lightning? After licking electricity’s sooty
stigmata? Brushfire, sage-smudge, silverware in the pot on high boiled dry in the middle of the night. Spark
has its own kind of beauty at the watering hole, hole in the floor collecting soap suds, hose coiled
on wet cement. What is the scent of a life lighting up so brightly for the first and only time before it gallops on, blooming like orange poppies, and who knows exactly what’s on the other side of any turning, any plot twist in spacetime’s ominous road?
I Desire the Things Which will Destroy Me in the End - Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Oh, damn girl, night’s gone otherworldly now. The smoke alarm’s disengaged and gutted. A spider’s crawled inside, a dust mote, a flea, one particle too many to sleep.
The smoke alarm’s disengaged and gutted of insectivores, boys, the bodies of wolves, two particles too many to sleep. Who plays with the prunes in the plum tree filled
with insectivores, boys, the bodies of wolves? Your subject howls like the preacher’s son who drinks of the plums from a prune tree soaked with the Holy Spirit, with a locust tongue;
your subject preaches his revelations, howls his falsetto chimes from a belly deep with the Holy Spirit, and a locust tongue, and your throat’s gone dry, your heart, underground,
his falsetto chimes, muffled now, belie deep- seated secrets and nightmare scenarios, and your throat’s gone dry, your heart, underground, his voice still ringing, ringing in your ear
planting secret nightmare scenarios-- Oh, damn girl, night’s gone otherworldly now, his voice still ringing, ringing in your ear. A spider’s crawled inside, a dust mote, a flea.
I Stole the Moon, and It Taught me to Glow
I took the sun and spread it on my skin until I became a steamy version of myself. The blackberries have dried on the vine, even the moldy ones from that overnight moment of rain. I’m planting hopes and prayers under compost to let the worms feast on them. A past iteration of myself lies beneath what’s left of a glacier, one toe and a breast exposed to warming air. My ancestor freeze-dried and under glass in a museum of extinction. Sometimes I wish Jupiter would beam me up. But Jupiter just tells me it doesn’t need me to run interference. I stole the eggs from my chickens while they scratched great craters in their pasture. They have no interest in the moon and whether coral reefs can be seen from outer space. Yesterday, I drove to my aunt’s house and smoke wafted from the Honda SUV in front of me, the driver’s three dogs, heads hanging out the window, tongues dripping in the road. They seemed to be smiling. The air in my car began to smell like weed. I really don’t know what I don’t want my kids to know. My kids already know too much. The cockroach in the hallway to the hotel pool in Honolulu looked the one on the wall. I flew the moon from my deck on Kauai. It told me never stop looking up. This is how we will survive.
-- Ronda Piszk Broatch is the author of Chaos Theory for Beginners (MoonPath Press, 2023), and Lake of Fallen Constellations, (MoonPath Press). She is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant. Ronda’s journal publications include Greensboro Review, Blackbird, 2River, Sycamore Review, Missouri Review, Palette Poetry, and NPR News / KUOW’s All Things Considered. She is a graduate student working toward her MFA at Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop.