Two Poems

Poetry / Jessica Bixel

Sheer and Camber

I held a rabbit heart in my hand,
a tiny opera of fear, a nightmare
I can clutch.
                            In my hunt for you
I found it, already dead, swollen
and waiting under an apricot tree,

obsolescent, the way a sister is
uncertain stringing twine
around her brother’s wrist.
                            This shouldn’t hurt.

And yet what follows is trenchant:
a blooming so violent it could only be
abandonment. I want to be more

than my repetitions
                                            but I miss you.

What kind of wound have I made
for myself?

How to Mine Quartz

You had blue eyes, like our mother. She taught me amethyst means intoxicated. She said, this is our birthstone. Said, this is your baby brother. She gave me a small rock. This is both. You were heaviest when I caught you hanging halfway out an upstairs window. I saw my arms turning into terrible flumes. I saw you falling. And when you didn’t, when you crawled back in and ran from me, I saw what it meant to be split in two. Sill and sky. Stone and earth. Brother and sister. I watched you for days, waiting for you to sneak away and try again. Dearest, I’ll go anywhere that memory can’t find me. For example, when quartz contains iron it can be irradiated to give the amethyst color. Citrine is merely burnt amethyst. Quartz is the second-most-abundant material in the Earth’s continental crust, after feldspar. Most mornings you were so bright I could have worn you on a chain around my neck. Most mornings you were so small you might have let me. Your wrists strung through with gold. I’m trying to be precise. Dearest, you’ve always been too close to dying, like our mother. She taught me suicide attempts come in threes.

Jessica Bixel is somewhere in Michigan. She is a recent Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee and her work can be found in Best New Poets 2015, Whiskey Island, and Grist Journal, among others.