December 2011

A White Dress is Toxic, Much like Acid Rain

…you did not
choose to be in the story of the woman
in the white dress which was as cool and
evil as a glass of radioactive milk.
–“Like, God,” Lynn Emanuel

Except that I did. I stood beneath the chokecherry
tree stunned by the welter and muck of June

(bugs trilling in the bog, insects thick-bodied
as fingers, fists, the sweet weight of a baby’s
wrist—), I professed loveandfidelity and till-death-

do-we-pluck-out-our-eyes. And before someone could sling
a shotgun and shanghai me out of that wet dream, I was the cream

in his coffee, before grace and bereavement milkpoured
themselves like honeysuckle (a child suckled

at my breast three years later and I knew
out of this life is the only living left) vines across my throat:

I clutched that clot of the cosmos, love, faced the forced
march of the hamstrung heart
into a swarm of angry bees—