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And it dries and dries

By Marisca Pichette in Issue Three, March 2022

In my mind a butterfly catches pneumonia:
Flap flap the world is changed.

There’s a second life but not a first,
there’s you and no there’s just me—
no we no us just just just
iron and
lilies and
coffin nails.

All I want to see is darkness today.

But the light keeps intruding
even after the candle, snuffed by heaving breaths,
snuffed enough to undo the whole legacy of definitions
I’ve been trying to land on, trying to find
in darkness and heat.

Did you know oil has eyes?
They watch when we drill through lungs
through heart, searching
aching in the earth.

Earth full of bones and mucus.

They said: find a world that never ends,
a globe that never circumferences,
a planet without time outside of time
inside a box under a table
with three legs.

Listen to the drill
deeper, into a hollowed-out sphere
crafted of papier mâché
but using too much glue
like we always did.

There’s nothing left
(but lots left, covering the whole vast
an embarrassing mess that no
wants to clean

So I bend down
and tear off a page
to write on: ending lines from every corner of a circle.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
faltering, wheezing, dripping
over the edge, pooling off the pages
because the glue is still wet,
still sticking and dragging away my words,
pouring over my feet.

Stop. Step.
Step two.

There should have been a step one, but there isn’t.
It was swallowed, see, no—hear—here,
in the smallest hole you find
among trembling butterfly bodies:
twitch twitch
itch, a scrapped memory hovering
at the back of your eyelids,
just out of reach.

Step, step, step.

© Marisca Pichette

Marisca Pichette

Marisca Pichette is an author of speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Further work by her has been published and is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, PseudoPod, Daily Science Fiction, Fireside, Uncharted, and PodCastle, among others. A lover of moss and monsters, she lives in Western Massachusetts.

Poetry by Marisca Pichette
  • And it dries and dries
  • A Prayer for the Surviving