I Want To Talk About Poison
Rochelle Nameroff

Because it is true.
Because of the hesitant voice on the phone
and its wish to say something.
Even hello might have a snarl
heard only afterward.
Because the buttercup in the field
will make you sick. And the iris,
and the foxglove. If you swallow the world,
if you take it in like that--
Already it has happened, the wire
revealed by its stretching,
the cord upon loosening. A poison
when diluted remains a poison,
seductive and irreversible
like what the world knows about you.
What you know about the world.
At first, luxury. Then the notes
of the flute, how they understand you.
How the mouth begins to burn,
its cushions swelling--
If a cobra should bite now
the muscles will start to stretch.
The eyes are pulled open
as if a vision were stroking them,
calling them honey, licking their tears.
The body begins to lift into an arch,
a cradle of itself, lifts higher
as if a magnet of air had called it home.
Called it something other than home
and you are following.
As if that place were always outward
like the ones who do the pulling,
the true ones. Only the head
and the feet drag on the ground
when the body arcs like that.
Until the invisible
cords decide it is over.
And then the shade
that was the home of the body
can rest itself down,
down to its innocent love,
the one without antidote.

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