Your words be but wind 


Wonder & glory, power & sand, the way in the moonlight
          over gouges in landscape. Unzip a skull: a painting of the process
of this thing operating: to the depths of disengagement 
                    men are flying. I’m a puppet.
Clack my skull & you’ll see the globe
                    of a fist. Plateful of breast—

& black bone—leaving us to the wolves,
to the meatslicers in clanking armor.
Light says, wipe yourself out. No one is ready for this.
          Light out of fire, out of witch trial
                    before its naming. Light the organ pipes. 
After all these years of waiting

I’m willowed! & widowed 
on this isthmus window.






and how well that all these things hurtle 


& then we’re trying on the molecules
of sainthood, delivering ourselves to the gods
of caffeine. We’ve got very little

to fight for. Make your body mean
juggling, make it jump from an altar. Let them

chop down your couplets. Syllables
to rally by, fighters’ tricks or the vulcan’s edge:
a little boy goat, & because goats

are the devil’s cousins, I let him fall 
into magma as I declared my heart to all 

girl things. Fornicating grass blades witnessed.
Was a slut, now a savior. Once was lost. So many
dead before dying’s revelation—

all papier-mâché, delicate sword.



"These poems are part of a series in which I try to inhabit the mind of a woman who has been driven mad by torture. In this case, I used the story of Saint Agatha—whose breasts were removed because she wouldn't sleep with a powerful man—but I could have chosen any number of stories, any number of women, historical or fictional."

Alexis Orgera is the author of two books of poems, How Like Foreign Objects (H_ngm_n Bks) and Dust Jacket (Coconut Books) as well as a forthcoming book-length, as-yet-untitled collaboration with the poet Abraham Smith.