Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

When Your Body is the Pyre

When Your Body is the Pyre
Photograph via Flickr by Max Elman


if you have never seen the river burning
you can’t know how pollution tastes in the blood
when your bones betray the only thing
you’ve ever expected them to do


who thought submerging electric currents in a body of mostly water
wouldn’t pose a risk to the creatures that make the sea their home


the man who shares my bed
made his vows years ago

he doesn’t seem to mind the revisions, addendums
his signature again and again


I’ve become obsessed with the word “spine”
a lover that sinks anchors in my flesh
but abandons ship before we leave shore

I scream to the sky each night
as if baring my teeth will reverse tides
or the flow of time


I never asked to be set on fire
but if I must live in flames
I might as well learn how to
keep the smoke out of my eyes