Traci Brimhall
Dearest Thanatos,

Not, I’ll not kiss your lionlimb, not lap back the rattle in my ribs

        like a lone pill going to powder

 

in an orange plastic bottle. Not, no not sing anymore of the wretch

        and wrestle. No more ministers

 

to drive words through my wrists and leave me for the patient circles

        of scavengers. No. You didn’t kill me.

 

Not because, some days—yes—I wished for it but chose a different

       courage. I stopped asking the mirror

 

for a dream and opening it like a door. I wished to welcome back

      feeling, that whole mansion of trembling

 

rooms, wished to break every window, let the light storm through.

      On my knees I wished for tempest,

 

for rack and screw. I asked for churchless pleasures to disturb my                    numb comfort, wanted lick and wallow,

 

wished to swallow the laugh out of my child’s mouth, and—my God—

          wished for even the shame of an apple.

 

Now my wishes are down to two: Staying alive. And wanting to.

 

 

Found In Volume 47, No. 03
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Traci Brimhall
About the Author

Traci Brimhall is the author of Saudade (Copper Canyon, 2017), Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). She’s received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.