Cycle | V. Navarro
In the beginning we were a murmuration,
a skein of starlings twisting in the sky.
Love, don’t look. The whole world creaks
and sputters under this faucet of blood.
You were a buck, your antlers
hard and clean as gold. You never lost
your fawn spots, a scatter of faint stars
on the map of your smooth hair.
In all my dreams that season, you were
mishandled by cars.
This is the way things are now,
Love. “Get used to it” is too harsh.
But there it is, my body used
to get it to survive. I want
another story for you. Not a revenge
tale where we move like a flood
through the ugly rooms of all the men who
drown things in sackcloth bags. And not
one where we go to feed the fungus
in our shoe-box coffins, a food chain
law where we dream inside each other’s
minds no more. Instead I want a world
where nothing dies and the earth
clutters with breath. They let us
into their bright houses to sleep
in their bathtubs. We roost
unchased away in rafters. We wrap
our wings around ourselves
and hang in closets. We welcome
the mosquito lamp bursting its bulb.
This is not the case, Love. Now,
the gods have made the earth
harder, and Adam and Eve’s
children let us sink in machines.
I have no more milk and no more
mind. I want to think
we were once leopards or lynxes.
I want to think the snow once
licked us clean.
Once as children, my brother and I closed our eyes
when we knew the time had come. “Tigers,
tigers,” we chanted, picturing the rivers of black
coursing over our newborn bodies.
We came back as vultures, but
thank god, we were of the same kind.
Again I’m a moth beating
myself against the window,
a drive for light too strong
to see my body crush more
to dust with each blow.
And O god, a cluster of tangled hands
writhing in the water. They sweat
poison from their open pores. Tell me
this is not our inheritance.
Remember our shining fangs?
They were the first to go when our bodies
slid out from under us and we mangled
from wolves into angler fish, brightening
our crowded mouths with
I remember when your mother
was a swan. I prayed that maybe,
just once, a form could hold fast.
But she, too, shattered.
And then I was an arctic tern and you
were a wet-blue dart frog. And I flew
and I looked, and I looked,
and I looked for you.
In the long span of turning taxonomy,
keep close. Follow my skin again
when it shifts. I’ll keep a call
in my throat that only we know.
V. Navarro lives in her hometown of Tampa, FL where she received her MFA from the University of South Florida. She is starting doctoral work at USF this fall in the Department of Communication where she plans to focus on performance studies. You can follow her on twitter and instagram at @vnavarrowriter