Dahlia

Painted there on your arm were rows of old stains,
smocking a six-toed panther behind a sword.
My shaman, my witch, my oracle.
You are the innocent Hebrew child and I’ve
licked the vodka clean from you.

You have shaken me from the shell.
They’ve called me Dahlia.

My skin is of yours, and yours.
It reddens and darkens to the sun
as if I was born to worship the open sky.
My eyes are of yours, and yours;
coffee-brown and bitter to the arrogant.

In a distant heat, I moved my mouth as
my throat stretched and arched to subtle
anguish in the midst of broken glass.

I wept from my womb
a cluster of fleshy petals. I pulled at the
rose from its abandoned cathedral
and was bitten by a thorn.

Blessing the night in tobacco and blood,
we were cradled in a woven basket made of palms.
Outside the coyotes cried for my daughter.
I wrapped her in fox fur to be buried
beneath the peyote stalk.

I spent nights in a box of sage,
drinking cocaine and mapacho.
When the prophecy was drained from
our prison, I began to sleep.

I was awoken by the hunting bells around your neck.
The same smoke that climbed out of his throat
climbed from yours, suffocating me from my place.

I haven’t left you.
We had seen you in the leaves.

Would you deliver my daughter?
Would you feed me medicants like your mother?

Will I die?
Would you let me?

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