"INVERTED MUSE" by Tyler Zeanah
You hold her in your mouth like a secret, all hushed tones with the twinge of passion wedged between your teeth. Velveteen-dream girl says she’s practicing how to be more vulnerable, as if she doesn’t know how to be anything other than honest about the things that sting and swell. She says peace doesn’t suit her then pulls a bloodied crown from her own rib-cage, woven bones smoothed over and polished to a blinding white, twisted into splinter-less braids because
no one elicits the double-edged sword of nostalgia like she does. With raven hair trickling down in a reach to kiss the small of her tender back, and eyes like deep oak, she parts her lips, rimmed with dark lipstick, as she raises a glass of red wine to her mouth. I think of her often on the gray days I sit and grapple with the soft sides of pain: the brutal kind of hurt that can only make room for acknowledgement, if nothing else. She knows how to drain the carcass of what
kills her, while preserving the meat, honoring the injury, so as not to forget where it came from, ever. On the bad days, she wears her shoulders as adorned earrings, hoisted up clavicles in a tense dance of delicacy. She wonders how much weight her earlobes can hold before her sweet skin rips from the stalemate between her body and mind. She is both commanders on either side of the board, opposite one another, sinking her own battleships in a tornado of pleasure and grief.