Patrycja Humienik

at a monastery 75 miles north of santa fe

cacti bloom magenta in the no service canyon
two deer cross the river
cross two shooting stars
in swell
after swell sweat a dew
pooling too soon in collarbones

i try to pray i walk
to the chapel kneel down to

last summer’s ache hello
mouth full of spit near green river

i recite from memory
head of myrrh, afterthought

riding a horse no saddle before the bell tolls to wake me
predawn gray knitted into soft lids of the love swollen quiet

walk to the chapel where i pray with a fervor i pray
for the pearl beyond brassy din of words like
a square jaw, clenched fist, fake cream & violet

instead of breast milk, rose water, spare me
from analysis spare me from spit & swell

gregorian chants a rosary silver hymn
i want to slip on dress me devout
like a woman abandoned by desire
leave me standing by the river to pray

i don’t know how to leave

so i paint my lips in scent
of flowers a browning crimson
i crouch in velvet moss i kneel

to the crucible of earth i dig
til a dirt path is exposed, wind-
ing through city once forest

around & through, ribboning
my urge to touch everyone
does it matter what shade

i leave etched in dirt?
outline of lips to be smudged
by passing travelers

bloom & blood stamped to dust
coiling fragrant on the wind
for someone else to taste i

think the details count
and some count more than others
we could call it red

but when i wore this same crimson
to bed with my love
its undertone a curling bark

each of my limbs curled toward
i don’t know. destiny?
i came to dig and can’t say

who asked me to kiss the ground
enough times for hundreds of feet
to wipe away the evidence

Patrycja Humienik, daughter of Polish immigrants, is a writer and movement artist based in Seattle, WA. Her poetry is featured/forthcoming in Passages North, Hobart, The Shallow Ends, Four Way Review, Third Point Press, and No Tender Fences: An Online Anthology of Immigrant & First-Gen Poetry, among others. Find her on twitter @jej_sen.