conjuring anew

— Raena Shirali

you don’t know why you feel the urge to tell him
in his absence you collect debris   :   ripped

envelopes, the coin he pressed against your nipple
to see how hard you’d shiver

you thought then you knew the cold. you thought then
your spikes were weapons


so you are a spine with several protrusions

that doesn’t make you unlovable


remind yourself   :   your situation is only negative
if you consider it in contrast to pastels   :   the sky almost
a dusting of pink, his thumb & forefinger
hooked around your earlobe


he calls you paint speckled
but means rust ridden. he calls you corrugated

but you’re already on your back. you’re too fair
to be   :   too dark to be   :


if you took all the cloud’s colors at dusk & mixed them together
you’d get brown, anyway. in this way, you are at the center
of the sky—& he is another object
headed straight toward it


or this is no firmament, but a landfill

you may be just another artifact
kept in an old shoebox—a love letter he takes out
after several glasses, reads less-than-fondly


it’s hard, isn’t it, to look at yourself

without a mirror   :   without a man


if you’re ready for the recipe, take out your largest
porcelain bowl. gather scents you feel are particularly

you   :   rosemary, lavender, rain soaked cigarettes, dark
ripe sweat. let them sit with each other.

in the half light by a lace curtain
resist the urge to mix. resist the urge

to make any blooming of your simplest parts


at least, if you’re going to be a cold, left thing
you can call yourself spica


at least, once you’re cold & left
you can call yourself anything

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