write over this with salt

(a palimpsest before the smoke)

the spring of disguised vultures gave way to a summer where blackbirds marked our feet with chalk,
and coated our hands with red clay, so that we would leave traces.  and when i was listening to stones speak, i lost everything when i forgot to tie things to myself, but in truth i was already too heavy to carry any of it.  and in the morning, that yellow goddess came to me with three dreams that would come true, but the summer had to wait.  it was not pregnant, and it was not empty, but there were caves being created in my chest while the things in my head were being erased.  and when i left the ocean, i was erased.

the fall of broken dogs gave way to winter very reluctantly, they left their traces on our necks, they left their traces on our backs, and they wanted to tell us all the things we didn't want to hear.  we were marked, ultimately, permanently, not by what they left on us, but by what they could not leave with us, their hearts too worn to travel in this world any longer, not yet ready to travel in any other, and so they occupied the spaces in between, and we were too busy, brushing our teeth, sorting out the things in our pockets, to notice that the world was about to become a little bit emptier.

the winter came, and when the winter came, the animals pretended to be sleeping, so that we might finally have the chance to say the things we were supposed to say to each other.  but when we started speaking, all our animal languages started to fall out of our mouths, and everything that seemed so complicated before was removed when it moved into the realm of animal language.  our coats would not be enough to keep us warm, we would have to find other ways, and we couldn't settle for anything less, and the world kept getting colder, wondering what we would need as proof that we heard each other, louder and bolder than our stylish jackets.

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