Chemical reduction, iron becomes rust. I become nothing
more than a body that is seventeen

years old. Twenty-one, he is hooked tongue, swollen
with thirst. Arms are raspberry branches bent

into thorned ringlets. Prickled legs, dual inflections
suffocating my midsection. I am fevered skin

that blushes like berry stains – ashamed
of its own audacity.

***

Pneumonic cough, I am hollow and bloody.
His skin tastes like self loathing

and Vicks Vapor rub. We make worship
to a knife tip, Looking for salt

and pepper salvation in pinpricks.We live
with the desperation of a double suicide.

***

Twenty-one, he taught me
how to forget my name. I become a decanter

on his nightstand, throat choking on rose water. I become his vase,
china blue shellac. Chronicling

slow degeneration. An accident, the ceramic is broken
in seven places. I become nothing

more than a body that is seventeen
years old.