Paula Mendoza


A petaled sun. The house on fire.

Its chimney shoulders a purpled heaven, pricked
through and through in gibberish Braille.

Mother in the corner has no eyes and no tongue.
She drools an umber babel.

But you understand her, don’t you?

That isn’t rain, it’s spittle and wind hiss.
The clouds are pink because of her lipstick.

That isn’t grass, it’s her hair.
And no, that isn’t a boy, it’s a worm.

And can’t you see where I’m looking at you?

That isn’t a rose, it’s a pool of blood
from where you bit your cheek and see—

it’s spilling a river! See? Where you are
rushes and rushes. Yes! Yes! That’s me!

O, dear girl, I’m so happy you found me!




____________________Does she photo-
graph well, does she arc
______light, catching like paper’s edge touched
to fire your thumb tricks lit.
____________Does she turn and

______will she
bend that-a-way, this—meaning, does
she milkweed, silky swallow-wort, or

would you
____________________rove and thorn rather
wear her. Whereby your throat’s fall
note’s what blushes haft, brightens
___________bud spathe-sheathed, why

does she stay? Of cold, and climb, a winter-
blooming ivy, does
fold flush in suit and do her
cold cards tell, for only you or

does she matador
_______up a sleeve, does she stark like stripped trees, and do you
Does she calcine or merely bone, and Blue, would you

in flames of tongue or smoke just more
ghost? Do you know
she goes ( ((o, how she goes! )) ) to all the glow
you’ve spoke? So shudders tremolo after, even

______with with out out her her double—

Does she, maudlin, jack your riff? Filch your
gloom, mourn in dreamt-up afters, and seconds—no
less—her threat of—Our.
Will you: punish her
Picture it! Punish her.
Picture her Now.



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