So she says to him: my own
self is my body’s own true love,
is my first heart, so it goes
or so it says it out to.

But I have no idea why
I open myself to other selves,
like this, over an over
I never know or sure when I’m
inside out

I learn about it later

And he says: you’re pure technique.

Twice-born, even more, you still
Move and speak in thrall to becoming
each act. Each word written for another
self gives your need a format,
and limitless permission.
Remember when you were little?
Sleeping tight in a ball. In
a clenched room.? Like something
hurt inside? Like you dreamed
you would die? Without
permission?

No, she says to him. Just because
a knife is found, somewhere, maybe
borrowed, maybe stolen, a cut
cannot be, maybe, magic.
And a deep bruise the next
morning is no good excuse.
I know just what I know,
I go inside. Conscious.
I whisper, then I’m gone.
I learn about it later.

He shrugs, but he also
thinks: she trips the light, mitotic,
again. Daughtered, unmoored
in her mirror, again. These selves
she carries inside, like spores
of blue immortal cities. Like
whorls of cold light: hiding
like criminals on the inside
of her own skin. Again.

Then he says to her: the worst
crime makes the most heat and that
crime is the map of our journey.
Did you get there yet?
Are you warm enough to blast
off the mask?

But, he thinks, also,
inevitably: she still
makes me over, too, slips
through bare girders
like wind through a
hand, bone empty, and
pure as new snow passing
through, in silence,

In yellow light
down, twists
new snow
against my face …

© 2017, John Sullivan

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