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Breaking the Sacred
by Elizabeth Florio

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Elizabeth Florio
P.O. Box 1006
Ben Lomond, CA 95005

Summer
for craig

One memory-
rotting fruit on the ground
horrible, sweet infection.
Your job-
forge into the yard
armed with a Hefty bag
and gloves
(your mother's dish gloves
to be precise), to remove
the menace from the grass,
smeared peach brains and
thickets of tiny flies,
every time
at least one of them
sucked into your mouth from
gasping at how easily
your fingers slid through
those humid skins.
You hated that job of
gathering death, that sick
wetness, that whiskey reek.

Ophelia's Want

What did she want
in that drink?
The slick curve of
pool below her
bare feet
gripping the water
marked soil
gown of faint purple
gathered
around her legs
the sun giving hang
through her hair
through grasses
that hiss to her
the lie of love.
What did she want
in that reflection
seeing those
eyes circled by a
madness that must
keep her if she is
to do this fall
away from betrayal
out of the heart's
cruel clawing and
into the invisible.

Oriental Poppy

She hemorrhages slowly
through open throat
sun prisms on her
caught,
iridescent burstings
on her petals
she's a crimson stain
in the sun, hanging
head on a thin
wire against the fence
outlined by green.
Her sisters degrade
beside her in a
constant spiral.
It has always been
like this.
She shudders in the
breeze,
bleeds below the skin,
she will fall and be reborn.

Sick

I will not stay with this thing
growing like a rock in my skin.
I've stood too long above the noises of this world, above the
heads of the others who attempt
my slow understanding.
I will not stay with this
parasite nestled in, forming
off my own tissues, using my
nutrients, I cannot. I've seen
too much.
I know air is freedom along
my bushy arms. I could
stand this as much as I could
stand being cut at the quick
by stupid men or made into
furniture so I will lie down
with the wind's assistance, in my
dark armor, in the filed among
weeds and I will rejoice.

 

Medea
Don't piss a woman off - Kate Kavanagh

Woman whom no god could touch,
rage-bent like reeds in tidal floods.
fated to do this act by a husband's
selfishness and lust. Oh lost sister
how I grieve what you made, the
death your hands left on innocents.
How I wish you had turned it on
him-- perhaps, catching them in bed,
making them beg for your pity and
forgiveness, making them cry out,
but you fast-killed your own, slaying
the two sons he loved more than her,
screaming out long-held rage at the
turning sky, taunting the gods to
undo your decision. You Kali, took
your flesh and created the worst
payback, the filthiest hurt, the
absolute sweetest revenge possible.

 

Life Again

I return to it, again and again
shaking with the spasms of
another draw through the
long tunnel. Pressure on my
soft head, pressure on limbs
pressed close to the tiny
wedge of another chest.
Again, I can say
I survived one more torture
one more climb out
of murky warmth,
brought from the bottom
of yet another slime-rich
pond. Fishes no longer nibbling
at my skin, light no longer
seen at a distance.
Now illuminated,
clear,
I stand in a set of bones
that will give way like all the rest.

More Poems

Poems Copyright 1999 by Elizabeth Florio from her book, Breaking the Sacred.
60 pages, perfect bound, laminated cover. Cover art by Elizabeth Florio
Available from Angelflesh Press in Grand Rapids, MI
or from the author at the address above.


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