- Self Portrait as Museum, and: Invasive Species
Self Portrait as Museum
Do not take pictures. Memory exceeds memento, cheap facsimile. Linger if you like. A gaze can hang upon a body until that body claims it, just as Rossetti’s wife, Elizabeth, exhumed after years undisplayed, still clutched his odes to beauty in her hair: wrought devotions held by brittle locks. Safekeeping demands attention—in the dark, her face had caved. Because its lips once parted, because the poems crumbled in his hands, create a past for these assembled bones, the clavicle a finger’s depth. Please touch. [End Page 69]
Beneath the floor a furry body drags its trap. Rasp by rasp,
the slope of your back next to me expands. In sleep, when our jaws unhinge,
so many move in, more webs lining our stomachs each year. Our ears nooks
where eggs are laid. We can’t help but be dangerous houses—I woke to collapsing
legs on my tongue, slow with spit. Your exhalations worm into my ears, animate
air around my face. A predatory whirr or a caress. Leg hair like antennae.
Below us, the mouse’s tail stops making furrows in the dust.
What dream drags your body behind? There are cities where couples walk in masks.
Through white gauzed mouths, softly they breathe, rustling across cornstalks. [End Page 70]
Erin Lynch holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of North Texas, where she currently teaches. Her work has previously been featured in Blast Furnace.