October 31, 2017 orangeq2017

Good Morning

Hello my name is 		& I’m sorry. 
 
			There are prettier stories. 
Yes?
You’ve heard the one where the woman with long long hair gets 
locked in a tower & is rescued but the rescue goes wrong
so she climbs down herself & marries the man who failed
in the middle of the desert. 
 
Here’s another:
 
Once upon a time
		a man entered a castle & thought
		Maybe I should just live here. 
					So he did. 
& all the king’s horses & all the king's men
left the intruder alone.
	Who cares. 		Plenty
				of extra rooms. 
The moral?
Sometimes you are not the guest. 
 
My name is 
 
Hello
	yes yes you’ve seen me before. 
I’ve had many lives.
First I was the egg 		& now I’m a horse. 
			Sleek & fast. 	Oh fast.
					You wouldn’t believe your eyes.
	I run down the highway like a car,
but everyone else is waiting in traffic, look at me & 
		I’m already gone. 
 
Once upon a time I was born, new,	& my mother
looked at my face & 	decided I would live. 
 
I spent my first three months in the hospital. 	I came out blue. 
		My sister came out with the same face but
		she lived easy. Crawled out like magic then breathed. 
Me? 	I’m lucky to be alive. 
 
	I’m lucky
			
 
I have horses that answer to no king.
High in the castle, they run hallways, bridleless. 
			They chase out guests. 
I was born in the desert 
without water.
You wouldn’t 		believe your eyes.
		
My name is 
	desert.
 
Skin like a cactus. I suck up water 	& expand.
It hardly ever rains
		but when it does
 
you can bet I am wet & muddy.	
& the moon, high in the empty sky says:
 
Once upon a time
 
I was a moon that horses could run under.
Before the sun, 
the world was so dark.
 
My mother named me after nothing. 
No one before me ever sounded like this.
Hello my name is
 
sky full of moons -- 
				no stars --
			just circles reflecting light.
 
My mother’s father told her she would have twins. 
You just wait, he said. 		
Accidental oracle. 
 
In Greece, to visit the Oracle of Delphi,
one enters under the words:
 
nosce te ipsum 	  	(Literally: you know yourself)
 
& then 
underneath
		with invisible paint:
		a picture of me.
					It’s a self-portrait,
			I finished it before Caesar & before Octavian or Augustus
				before my sister separated from my body
				& floated with me but
				separate from me. 
	& we grew up sticky & identical. 
We are so old now. It is possible
Rome was founded by us. 
			There were no murders or men. 
		But four empty hands & 
				nameless 
				O 	nameless.
 
Until my mother 
pulled us from the dry dry earth with our
layers of dust
with her own 
hands.

*

Julia Bohm is a writer from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her work can be found in Drunk in a Midnight Choir and Pubic Pool Magazine.

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