DARK AND ALIVE - sara williams

for Nathaniel Mackey

I’m deader than meat; I’m digested. Look at this flesh, falling from my bones, slippery as any ground your body rests on. Love wrapped in a sheath, barely breathing. This air is as old as your milk, rancid and pretty. When he held love cold against our hips, we shook. That movement took the place of dancing. The cherry trees blossomed last week, myriad bombs sounding off through scent. The sweet smell of death; a death chant. The petals have all fallen to the ground, turned to mud and mold. Each time I see the leaves, full as any moon I might wish on, I drown. We rest on a leafless bough; the bough, dark and alive as Hera’s blood, reaches for blue, breaking sky and ruptured earth, and stays rooted to the trunk all at the same time. We notice none of this. I dance madly, having grown two heads while my feet and legs shrivel and ascend, disappearing into my center. Just arms, two heads and torso now, I find new rhythm. I decide not to get the knife and chop my body up, not to burn it like firewood, but to breathe, dark and alive as I am.