He stumbles into her magic. She clears her throat of incantation & ginger beer. She has to start believing harder, again. He, too, is surprised by his own charms of wonder. He is a steady & still-open hand. She offers her barstool seance of nightfaith & delicacy, $3 a pop. He asks her about tenderness & she lists every man who ever bothered her for a buck or a cigarette. She continues: this is her being tender. This is the process of breaking muscle, a flavoring of labor & grace. He tells her he is over an imminent month-long weather pattern. She tells him about her futures of atmosphere, felines & ghosts. She tells him her history with echoes & wildnesses & he tells her about the urgency with which he tongues geography. How he licks the pulse of every place he goes, looking for the residue of punk & decidedly blank verse. She has been her own basement klaxon & manydaysold funk. She questions the volume of her palpitations & he asks to hug her a second time. He floats in the midnight hour’s clearing as she writhes in her den still lingering his scent.
Today, he brought her an arrowhead made out of tinder. He said he forged it out of a kill he believed in. She receives this gift sweetly, like all the dead things she collects. The fates allowed him to see her before his next hunt. She remembers to light a new candle on her alter. She tells him of her upcoming rituals & invites him to exercise in devotion. He obliges. Tonight, they share revelations in his domain. He makes the best of his space & she finds her corner by the window to consider this new gravity. They hang like fog in a thicket, nocturnal mystery of scavenging animals. He attempts tea, another learned tradition of grace he tenders from his quiver. Dissatisfied, he unintentionally refrains in ginger & she reserves her glee in sips. She matches his generosity with herb & coffee bean prose. He sketches her to a photo booth in a hot dog joint where the entire world has been at least once. She imagines the snapshot of this moment ground up & cased in its own flesh. She takes all his questions personally & never answers any one of them the same way, twice.
She wants to name her new wound after him; instead, she takes him like arrow in her forest. Her bullseye wood camouflage, lumberheart a tender target. She is a root familiar with flame. Only named wild after destruction. For now, she takes dreams of The Archer's bow. She imagines his eager hands meticulating the razor’s edge for translatable stanzas. She rarely fantasies punctuation but this feels more surgical than hunt. She fables the romantic before the invention of gunpowder. When every weapon still had to be toolfirst. She meters a future parallel to this. She refuses to makeshift a hammer of dreams. She fashions a knife out of fallen leaves & views from tiny rooms. She knows they travel differently around borders. She teaches herself the dialect of a strange land. He teaches himself land in a strange dialect. Maybe a guardian angel will find him outside of a Guatemalan courthouse. Maybe the lunar eclipse deserves more credit. The sea between them was wider than her wood. She comes to where her trees meets the shore, making bonfires of white handkerchiefs & last savages.
JAYY DODD is a blxk trans womxn from los angeles, california– now based in Portland,OR. she is a literary & performance artist. her work has appeared / will appear in Broadly, The Establishment, Entropy, LitHub, BOAAT Press, Duende, & Poetry Foundation among others. she is the Executive Director for Dovesong Labs (a development of Winter Tangerine), editor of A Portrait in Blues (Platypus Press 2017), author of Mannish Tongues (Platypus Press 2017) & The Black Condition ft. Narcissus (Nightboat Books 2019). she has been a Pushcart Prize nominee and co-editor of Bettering American Poetry. her visual & written work has been featured in West Hollywood, Portland’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Teen Vogue & Entropy. they are also a volunteer gender-terrorist & artificial intellectual. find her talking trash online or taking a selfie.