V. C. McCabe


I, of stone and fire, clothed in ice, melt
days of bone on your altar, ash and water.

I wake in a grave of forgotten lore, bleeding
stories of my kinfolk. We are salt of earth, of death.

Raw, unadorned, unadulterated, but never pure, dark
minerals. They call us many names, but never our own.

Couplets of carbon, our origin, we are elemental,
embryonic diamonds emerging from stardust.

You find your worth in misery, bowing down
to pool tides in your supplicant palms.

Untie my hands to gather galaxies. We are lovers
of regret, starving for self-immolation, fields

languishing in doubt. You have consumed my ego.
In coves of cultish devotion, we prostrate ourselves,

wrenched apart by conflict, dry gravel choking killdeer.
Your eyes nested in my memory, I’m a river

dammed, damned. I, of wave and ebb, captured
under glass, pinned spread eagle to the four winds,

vomit truth in deathless whirlpool, fortuitous
need. We seek divinity after parental failure.

Life is too heavy for our sparrow shoulders, birds
of a feather cannibalize each other, a frenzied cabal

unyielding—luminous like radium-painted cockroaches
scurrying in the mushroom cloud afterglow.



V.C. McCabe is the author of Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019). Her work has appeared in exhibits and journals worldwide, including Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, The Minnesota Review, Five:2:One, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and Barren Magazine. Her website is vcmccabe.com.