I came to despise the flutter
so swallowed fire on a three-foot poker
no longer did I feel the sickening tickle
of soft wings against my bones

tenacious bodies squirmed feeding on
every leaking thought, every loosed memory
their thick saliva in evidence
dripped down my thighs

I drank kerosene for breakfast
chased it with premium gasoline
snacked on bright red coals expecting more
than the black smoke curls escaping my nostrils

bound my mouth with silver tape
slit my gut from sternum to stem
rinsed my entrails in an ice-cold stream
purified in pain, replaced them

quiet in pelvis, still in belly
finally no stirring in my chest
to heal, to forget, to revert
victorious though scarred laid to rest

gossamer images behind my lids laid bare
atoned in honeyed words whispered there
crawling wingless across my brain
“for me or another, for ever changed”