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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 55
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Poetry
A Bleeding Letter
Tina Zheng
O, miracle of love—my divinity and my crucifixion…
- Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff, The Book of Love
My darling,
I am afflicted.
Not from you but the reflection of me in your irises.
I turn away,
for to look is to accept that which slices me open—
leaving me vulnerable to dissection under your chemical eye.
If even an eyelash falls on me during your inspection, you
pollute my insides with you you you! And I convulse
and tremble knowing you have unearthed me.
Forgive me!
I drank the mulberry wine.
No, I guzzled it.
The syrupy sweet coated my throat and pooled
in my stomach, thawing me.
And then my carbonated dreams came spilling
out. In my delirium, I gifted you bundles of dandelion fuzz,
yet they are reduced to nature’s lint, clinging to your clothing.
And you never felt the torment of the entwined as much as in that moment.
Then came the feverish corrosion of my heels;
Propulsion halting his brutal pace. No!
I cannot bring back the virgin dandelions,
so their bare stems shiver
in the magnifying moonlight.
Please, don’t call me your honeysuckle words.
Call me aloof.
Only then will my swollen disquietude be remedied.
I am an anti-poet: my writing is not to be deciphered or pondered!
Tell me you faced away while reading this letter, and thus
you allay my most dogged worries…
I gave in to you— you and the reflection of me in your irises.
I turn away a life of lukewarm interest, of fleeting commitment!
If to be human is to indulge in indulgences, then I am maximal sapien,
and sin is no pestering growth
but my every exhale.
Take hold of my lungs
and wring them out, my darling.
You’ll discover your own sighs I’ve hoarded.
Melt your fingerprints into the cacophony within,
and carve me open to find fidgeting thumbs
and my rainy-day worms. So like buried treasure
I smile when you unearth me.
Heaven is other people,
and you are the epitome of this Sartre-contrary theory of mine.
You humor the inelegant momentum
of my daffodil spirit, enamoring me with your
uncompromising parallel dance.
We tug at each other’s crabgrass veins
and anticipate unyielding Mischief’s
triumphs— a domino demolition so invigorating.
Forward! We riot on this tandem bicycle and put Pollock to shame,
painting over this discolored world together
in blundering,
unrelenting strokes.
When the day ends, we return
to our shared pillow of curiosity and counterfeit bills.
And I revel in taming the tumbleweed. Yes,
our polished equilibrium and the security of the entwined.
Glorious, untarnished, ambrosial.
Too, I would cut off my sleeves
like emperors before me to preserve the fatal calm
and leave our murmuring undisturbed…
I am a cactus drowned, floating to the surface to emerge
as a lily pad infused with the hue of the horizon.
And this is no poetic conquest— it’s a poetic trundle.
Simply the grotesque reconstruction of word vomit and brain matter;
putting name to that syrupy sweet syndrome, exposing my cavities.
So forgive my grandiloquent sentimentalism, my darling.
Can you blame me for trying to mold the amorphous
into something tactile for us to share?
I want to conjure up the gut-immediate ache—
the sonically full, the encompassing,
the nebulous yet potent— that seizes my soul,
so that your joints may vibrate in the way of muted secondhand,
of symphony-adjacent.
Because I am maximal sapien and together we are sensational.
Ever yours,
T. Z.