Aloe Vera

By: Katherine Westbrook

The rain is immediate, and collects in every pore like blood clots. 
For this moment, coiled small, a child’s figure shaking sleep —
I move. Pulsing water smudges the dented car hood
three blocks down, and there is a caution to both of our actions.

The robins on the powerline clench the wire as if it were a thread of music —
Mute as man’s grip to knife handles, balancing acts of ribbon and talon and feathered breast —
and I am forced to ask myself what an electric current must feel when running through the body,
or the rain as it cradles a grass carpet, or the thick sheets that strangle me or better yet —

This is the chrysalis I am caught in. I murmur dreams through silk envelopes, 
born again as the chill of an autumn morning. All I know is that my fear 
can breathe; all I know is the word we use for this kind of dying 
runs my tongue with needles. Sometimes I forget things stop happening after they 

stop happening. An earthworm wrought to topsoil by
a wad of spit. Broadcasted light on the empty stadiums. 
Snow falling parallel to the upturned bucket of moon. How my chest
softens with the slowing of hands or heartbeats.

The robin positions its beak into the dirt and begins knocking —
Earthen doors collapse and the worm appears, allotting a moment’s glimpse at the sky
For what it really is, a collection of aimless directions and shelled flight patterns. 
Death has visited me in many ways, the most often as shadows, as stillness.

Rain dampens everything into a lullaby, like a, 
like a diluted memory. 
The robins are again feverish upon the powerline,
and I see myself finally, stumbling through an endless tunnel of 
light. The body does not forget a thing like this