As Lazarus How deep is deep enough until I reach the bent rafters of my own ribcage? I test the extent of my dimensions. This— this is an effort of pencil checks, measuring-tape & desperation. Behind the drywall of sternum & knucklebone, I am certain that the same thing that aches in the attic is what keeps it standing. How far down is it? That place I’m afraid to name. That place where God lives. I’m pressing up against the door— an angry thumb against a tooth, snapped loose in my mouth. How long have I been straining at the concrete slab of my own foundations, barely making a scratch? Again—again, I’ve been asking God for permission to uproot my life like a weed in the asphalt, to split the stem of my spine & let me sleep. Again—again, he keeps telling me no. Self-Portrait as Sin-Eater “a loafe of bread was brought out, and delivered to the Sinne-eater over the corps…and sixpence in money, in consideration whereof he tooke upon him…all the Sinnes of the Defunct” —E. Sidney Hartland, 1892 Sometimes I catch myself returning to the forest where thick in the underbrush I buried my youth & its fragility its prayers its bullets. I had encapsulated my violence, pushed back the soil & dropped its fragments foul seeds into the earth, dropped the shots I promised God & myself I’d never spend. In that woods I circled back just in case someone had seen me shovel in the dirt, circled back to find it dug back up. I catch myself returning to find the corpse of every pale wreckage I’ve worked against my ambition, set exquisite with gold quartz pomegranate & just one place setting— a sparrow vivisected feathers spread across the plate & a handful of bullets. Under the shade of a willow’s dense sweat I wept swallowed small bones & bullets’ lead & hoped no one was there to see it.