Kayla Carcone

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.