this place is already poisoned,
a hell swarm and a bubble in the earth
and if I tried to go somewhere new
my truck would only follow your voice
and the flowers would face down
because they know where I’m from.
but the bears, ripe and listening
to their dark noses
know where the honey is-
they can smell it in the street,
a gas leak from the bumble bees’ houses.
I keep my jars locked in the safe.
his bears do not fear the germs,
do not fear the ice sculpture he is growing
maybe it’s not ice I see
on the wagon wheels-
could be an angel
migrating to holy land
or away from it
but I will never ask
because as the caravan shrinks
I know the glowing man can still smell
the gurgles reaching out of me.
Chasms have a certain kind of generosity,
So much open space to offer
And I want so badly
To be split open.
I want to be flattened out-
The undoing of an origami swan,
Paper thin enough to float
Like a parasail when the tunnel
Winds do their wind-ing.
I think I have to leave soon.
I will miss the rattlesnakes though,
For they have very kindly shared their venom.
Their rattles make the killing
Less black and brown, more egg-shell off-white
Like the little quail eggs they swallow.
And the coyotes, they like my
Rotting heart. It smells like easy
Prey. They know
There is not much left,
Not much pink-beating-red until the chasm
Catches up to me on his saddle.
He has knives hidden in his boots
And it is much too easy
To tear my plastic-trash-bag skin.
I can’t wait to be there, still.
I like their rattles and the leftover jackrabbit’s
Bone-white bones, I like my pink-bleeding-red,
I just don’t like my hidden-in-the-trash-can sins
Back to the Beginning
Closed eyes I am driving a car
Driving on the tongue I am
Yellow stains on the wall
esophagus to the stomach
Excess rivers in the kidney
and puddles drip
Puddles of fear and anger
but reflected in them are the darkness
of a new moon’s night
and the lights of an amusement
park roller coaster
the blinking fairy lanterns of
the steady saunter of a carnie
Then the sky melts into brown and
slabs of driftwood stab out
fingers of god reaching across the
One pierces the navel another
Both make equally
Finally we build a fire
in a cave within the sternum
where the heart makes regular beats
that shake the ground but don’t
frighten the birds
I roast marshmallows and you
put together the graham crackers
and together we lay and stare
at an endless night with the sky
so findable and finite
and we lick our fingers clean
No stars but shadow puppets
made by his ribs
About the Author
Ciara Knisely is a senior at Warsaw Community High School in Indiana and plans to study English in college. She has been in love with reading and writing ever since she was little, mainly because the written word has transported her to places that kept her alive. For her, writing is an attempt to make sense of all the feelings and thoughts in her head. Find her on Twitter: @ciaaara_ann.