somewhere, a drought has broken after years of silence
and the ground weeps a water it has forgotten
how to hold, a wounded
motherhood, a daughter drowned to
I thumbed at the coils of my twists and tried
not to think of the noose
or the snake, both being my own
I would like to tell this story
as an epic. I want righteousness
and honor and a god
at the end, open arms and you have done
well I want to say I had been thinking
of the punches or freedom or
the pool of my spine, hunched and soft as
really, I said I’ll kill you because I wanted
it to hurt, and if I couldn’t have an apology,
goddamnit, I would have this instead: the air
between us ashed
to graveyard, migrated heartbeat
in your cheek–I am Destroyer
and maybe that’s all I’ll ever be–
you gave me this prophecy.
let me pretend it is enough to live on.
I know now what I could not then: that kill
can never mean create,
no matter how one moves the tongue.
ruined wishbone throbbing
between us, you turned
twisted so we were face-to-face, and
that’s when I saw it:
the shrapnel buried
in your eye, glinting, the little beaded
girl in the skeleton of your face, amber trapped–
window blown to lilies.
sea fraying the edges of your perm.
I looked down and saw your hands,
the way they shake with their own undoing–
and I opened my mouth as though
for the first time
and began to scream, the night around me
like a broken sword
Claire Pinkston is a seventeen-year-old biracial Black poet and writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has previously been recognized at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and is forthcoming in Lumiere Review, the B’K, and The Hellebore, among others. She is growing with her poetry.