State of the Wards
Words By Levi Andalou, Art By Ryan Gajda
She applies ink to her lips and begins running
her mouth on the page. The folk explanation for
the irresistible urge to eat dirt. Organs in the head
are the last to live and the first to die. We put our
hands against our heads in moments of shock, as if
to contain the enormity. As if you could grab hold
of the moon with your hand to keep it from cresting
the distant plateau. As if all you had to do was throw
a rock at its reflection in the puddle. It’s black ice,
smooth as a mirror, by morning.
The rent moon disgorges onto a hillock, releasing an acrid light.
I pull on the bitter end of the rope from which I am suspended,
watching the blood drain from the leaves, watching the boughs
swoon to the heavy breath of autumn. I describe sluggish ellipses
and reflect. The way to my heart is through the suture in my chest.
I bequeath my body to superstition. My higher cognitive functions
were not present at the incident in question. My memory registers
only a restless horizon, a bottomless glass. Pure tones, incandescent
ovals, soft at the edges.
The eye sockets are cups of black ink. That’s where I jab
my barbed nib. It’s coming down in sheets. The dark streets
illegible with it, the storm drains swallow and swallow and
swallow. Ink runs down the billboards, runs down the faces
at the bus stop. It collects and comes to rest right here, reflecting
the lick of moon that hangs like a rotted eyetooth pulled
from the jaw of night. The cups run over. But
blink, and you miss everything.