I peel back the thin veil of the sky,
that sticky black cloth underneath which
a thousand nerve endings prickle with light.
I covet that light. Imagine
filling my bathtub with stars.
The way I would drown
in the sky if I could. The way
it would feel on my skin,
in my lungs. I would cut my heart
on those cold, cold stars,
carve out the shape of a bell
and ring and ring.
That would be music without pain —
only the vulnerable thrum of my organs
bursting with light.
I find love every time on the heels of disaster,
digging my hands in dead earth, and this time especially
I remember the long-gone snap of peas,
each burst of skin a sweet and glistening crack
to haunt the land. I am not afraid to touch decay.
I feel it every time I put hands to earth,
leading fear to flower to dark, wet soil again.
And every single time — every time
my hands start aching from the cold,
I find faint pulses humming in the dirt.
Through cloudy earth, a thousand crawling things
remind me what it is to love decay
and love my hands, and with love set love down
to do as dead things do in the gentle rot.
Emory Rose (they/them) is a graduate student and perpetual wanderer currently living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their poetry has appeared in Third Point Press, Half Mystic, Inklette, Counterclock, Rascal and Passengers Journal, among other publications (although much of that poetry was published under their deadname).