The Maynard
Spring 2016

Amanda Earl

from Electric Garden: Lady Lazurus Redux, a poem sequence


I retain water, but fluids unmoor me. I have to get up in the night to pee. I am starred with body aches, like a gaudy shopping mall xmas tree. I don’t want to be blighted. I want more extravagant moons. Do I require an angel to hold my hand at the end of the blood? No guides exist.


I place my precarious hands over my ears to shut out the unrelenting grasshopper mind full of anxiety that plagues me daily when I wake up at almost dawn.


I’m told once again that I shouldn’t speak, so of course, I have a compulsion to lie. It’s painful to hide these starlit pangs of wilderness. Am I in a fable where the crone laughs? I ran from my father, the better to breathe, what big eyes you have, he said before he kissed me.


Am I made of some material that shatters easily? I have become sensitive. I cry. My mind is endlessly twitching, as if it is trying to shake out unlipped legends.


Never a hawk, as a child, I used to dream I could fly. Now I burn up my picture books, raze memories of my childhood to the ground until I dream no more. Mornings after nightmares, I tumble from bed, disoriented, but my body remembers. I turn the air’s lingering blue into a bird.


My uncaged throat apologizes for its candour. It steals thoughts that were once firmly and safely lodged in the dark unknown crevices of my brain. My mind spins tales of a sultry, long-legged vixen, but left to its own jackals, my autocratic body contradicts by giving me acne, swelling my joints and out of the blue bloodying my womb.


I rebel against the cynicism of age. Disregard this truant body, attempt to make my vertebrae celestial. I am tired of my murderous uterus which has reddened my birthdays for too long.


I’m too hot again. The fountain ices over, still with indignant angels, the pulses at their wrists beating out my wish to freeze. I would marry the cold. My bridal gown sheer and white. My wedding band a gilded syllable. I float out of this hot night puddle of sweat. A black bird pours its wings into me. I am the prodigal daughter who never returns.


I am not ill. I am not tall. I don’t believe that I am evil. A mad woman has inhabited me with dangerous thoughts. She stings me and I sting you in revenge. I was never any good for anything. What is the point of leaving the bed? I lash out at friends, at men who wish to bed me. I apologize when the heat is gone, but then it is too late.


I have a brother. I am fatherless and have always been. I have a sister. My mother didn’t allow me to be a beggar of ramshackle memory. If thieves believe the past is gold, perhaps they’ll steal it from me. I had a pyrite childhood. I kept myself small by eating nothing. I didn’t die. I deciphered codes.