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  • Votive, and: To Be Invasive
  • Mary Leauna Christensen


You miss me/say you burn the candle of my body/the wick/anumbilical cord sculpted to my torso/I'll marry you if weprocreate/the fat of my stomach/a white wax/has caved in andproven me hollow/I have dripped/ran down into myself/tastedthe salt and peppers used for preservation/licked my emptyspaces raw/you call me hand of glory/say I light only foryou/even now/my body is rendered useful [End Page 84]

To Be Invasive

(In-va-sive as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary)

is to be a nonnativeorganism growing and dispersing         easily

            think everywhere kudzu   or            the elongated bodies of snakehead fish            finding their ways from Asia to Florida                            where we went to that wedding                            showed     everyone my ring

            remember how easily            you held     mistletoe over my head            as we split the holidays between families

to invade is usuallyto the detriment of native species and     ecosystems

            as in vines coiling the soil            until nitrogen levels grow too high              too many new large freshwater fish            can overpopulate a pond

            when you visit            you stay on the couch     only a night            find your way onto my mattress              and I make room


Invasion     orentry into the living body

            my body [End Page 85]

as by incision

            as by the tooth you cut            on my collar bone

            when you tried to suckle marrow              get a taste for things

an invader         disseminating froma localized area throughoutthe body

            the bone chip     you left            that thin layer of front tooth

            migrates     settles beneath            a right rib


The definition of invasive    is an adjective     tending to spread

            a vine in the pea family            blanketing outwards                too many hungry mouths

in a quickor aggressive         manner

            thoughts of you            one     after the other

relating to         or characterizedby military aggression

            each night         a battalion [End Page 86]                 your voice echoing            my ears'         soft pink nautilus

tending to infringe

            even here            there are tendrils of you [End Page 87]



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pp. 84-87
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