kami westhoff

We slit our wrists and write
our tragedies with the
streaks of sloppy veins.

We speak only after
our tongues have been cut
from obsidian mouths.

Without our ghosts
to guide us, we make mountains
of men, volcanoes of victims.

We river our rage, ocean
our eyes, branch our bones,
sky our soil-seared skin.

We make our language matter,
but only to those who were
already fluent.

We scaffold. We skeleton.
We slip into places we weren’t
meant to spine.

We cathedral our bodies, bear
the coffin of man’s capacity to corpse
whatever it is he can’t claim.


Kami Westhoff is the author of Sleepwalker,winner of Minerva Rising’s Dare to Be Contest, and Your Body a Bullet, co-written with Elizabeth Vignali. Her work has appeared in various journals including Meridian, Carve, Third Coast, Passages North, West Branch, and Waxwing. She teaches creative writing at Western Washington University.