H. E. Riddleton
Sometimes—and it is a secret—I want to burn
all these apartments
to start a garden in the ash
replenished dirt. Maybe retire
at 24, house hyacinth
& my revolting
cabbage, perhaps, pepper
the earth into placelessness. Untraced,
I fear my own evil—what I might do
if it is true there is no order to begin
with, just heaven’s loose enclosure
milking itself & maybe me of any remaining
grey. I sit sultry and speculative. I am
trampled in the tyranny of my disconnection.
I am told I shouldn’t be out here
alone in the dark asking questions
by a man squashing a cigarette into the concrete
as he climbs into a car. I say, thank you,
but he knows little of my deformity—of what I am
plotting in the pews of this curb. I look up
running backwards now, at that sunset.
It reminds me of little things lost.
No, not to fire, but to a spilled
cherry slushie, a lobster boiling,
or structural dehymenation—flesh/ wound
of the penetrable, the rockets
we exalt. The stains & screams
split the perilous
above. Maybe it is only precious:
a popped pimple letting go,
leaking out across the darkening
landscape, flooding with
the radiance of the inside.
Blood & pus is what we are made of.
Blood & pus is what we see through.
And yet, why am I not wholly repulsed?
I scratch at my skin until scathed.
I scratch at the stone until my thin skin splinters.
All the while, that red cross on the medicine box
streaking through the crossed-out sky
full of aero-plane fumes & felt up
Nightingales each pointing to the blood
congealing. It is cavernous
at the site of the first pimpled cherry loved
& tugged open on me.
Maybe I won’t burn. Maybe I will wait
to see if there is anything left to do.
I look down past the abandoned
tobacco, unkempt and dancing
on the yellow parking line. An ant
drags a bread crumb, boarded by another,
smaller ant, up the mountainous
curb. I wonder if they are hungry.
I wonder if they pray. I almost
offer my finger as a lift, but,
large and weightless, leave without
interference—making do, making
H. E. Riddleton is a neurodivergent and mentally ill poetess who, in addition to writing and trying to survive daily life, exists mostly as a wandering, fluttering hippie in search for the prettiest leaf and a better world. She is also a senior English major at the University of Texas in Arlington. Her publications can be found in The Visitant, Not Very Quiet, and No Tokens Journal.