The Boiler

Victoria McArtor

AS YOUTH CONCLUDES

The best advice I can give about falling
is about landing, the darkness says.
Darkness does not overtake light,
the clock says. Sounds of laugher
fading way, the season says. The body
doesn’t know how to lie, the lie says.
Misremembering is in itself revealing,
the lie says. I can only be reduced
to archives, alchemy says. I can only
know you through a combination
of letters, the unknown says. Is this
how it feels to die, the paradox asks?

There is little to nothing to say—
death can be throwing away love letters,
entering an exaggerated experience,
the last bite of an ice cream sandwich.

SEE ALL THE PEOPLE AND PARTS LAUGHING

I.

Was it jetsetter or temptation?
And me, in the bathroom, searching
for the shade of lipstick he liked.
I want my ribcage to fit
inside his hands
the way he holds a book.
Want him
to rub my earlobe, a way
to dog ear this idea.
If only I could find—
was it Hemingway’s fling?
I’m sitting tall on his
lap, lace my fingers
downward, cusp palms, say
here is the church
erect my pinky fingers,
here is the steeple
I unfold,
open the doors.
Was it messiah inspired?

II.

He takes my red lips, hip
bone, curve in the bridge
of my foot. Shanghai express?
He begins a conversation
with these parts, talks Coltrane
and Stella, begins with lies
only later to include actual events,
begins to laugh at my trick, says
there’s something else I can do
with my hands. I’ve painted
too much albatross on my lips
I can’t ask about all the other
hip bones scattered, laughing,
across the floor.

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Victoria McArtor is currently pursuing a MFA at Oklahoma State University while also pursuing her securities licenses while selling life insurance and annuities with Mutual of Omaha. Her poems have appeared in H_NGM_N and PMS poemmemoirstory.