RAPTURE, IN PARTS
I. my tongue recalls an e. e. cummings verse about liking my body when it is with yours
as it begins the work of writhe & tease. your body pulls out all the stops.
this is tongue in cheek. pulling out all the stops refers to the stops of a pipe organ
& yours is in my mouth & I do not love you
but I love the quake & shudder, the upturned chin & shiver, how you have come to sing
in shallow breaths—
to pull out all the stops of a pipe organ is to release an ear-splitting tremor
so brilliantly large it blows goosebumps over the pews, ruffles every treetop bare of its
swallows. we watch the birds flee the church & marvel at how in the context of my sheets,
this thrill strangely becomes a dangerous whisper you don’t ask me to swallow
but I do.
II. we sway across spilt silver cobblestone, copper wires twining. your flint fingertips
set a tangerine fire in my spine when you ask me to come home with you.
teeth, candy-coated in red wine: try it, taste mine
& I do & I do not love you
but I love the spark & fizzle, the short-circuit flare & curl, the tannic burns you leave on my
I know what this is & we bend make the mistake of sloppy hands & wet
matches. blue flame flickers: do you regret this? ductile mess: keep the secret,
swallow the lighter whole, let it scorch the walls of my stomach black & pray for rapture.
III. I’m not looking for anything, you say.
a darkened room full of
umbrellas: I open them all. how many times do I have to tell you? I don’t want to be
your girl. how much salt I have wasted, slung over my shoulders: no more.
I coat my teeth with it instead. there is no time to be anything but unlucky.
I ask between kisses about a tooth you lost, you say it just fell out. it just fell out?
the nerve died, you say. oh. resume. an omen: don’t get involved, with nerves
living or dead: but there is still the prayer for rapture &
I am okay with this. I want the second coming & I do not love you
& I could— but I won’t. how many times do I have to tell you
IV. tune the organ. let the matches dry out. set the umbrellas on fire. go quietly:
lay my clothes out on the sidewalk & pretend it’s me who has left you.
pretend your hands have not singed birdless trees onto my hips, wine-stains across my
chest, copper wire fire. pretend not to see my teeth fall out in my sleep. close my eyes until
all there is, is white. just satisfy, taste the homily & call this wintering of the
body church, maybe rapture, if we’re lucky.
Kayla Carcone is a nonfiction writer who sometimes teases poems out of the sky by accident. She is finishing up her degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston, MA and has poems in Painted Bride Quarterly. She tweets @kaylasomething.