Chiasmus // crown around your feet.
Legs slightly open, triple-strand of blush
pearls, real hair braided at your shoulder.
Susini instructed, painted the shiny veneer
of your arteries, sculpted the thing nestled, slightly
molten, in your core. Venerable you. Want
to be restoration for you — to take paintbrush
to my discolored vulva, to clear my hair
of dust with a small pneumatic tube.
Components make the work easy. I mark
places on my body — mirror of pieces
you removed. Blue sharpie a dotted oval
over my quiet womb. I’ll lend you mine
if you lend me yours — the ability,
the slow revelation of a swollen body.
To the muffled sound of discord,
I disassemble myself. A blue
glare. A pulsing. To become wax—
to feel every variation in temperature.
To commit my body to camera is to contain
my grief: choose the position of the limbs accordingly.
Cam Girl: Lucretia
The masters would paint you over and over
and over, but they fucked up the way you did it,
the fact that you weren’t sorry, that you weren’t
even naked to begin with, that you were draped in heavy robes,
that it took considerable force to shove the blade through
your clothes first, then your ribs.
The suggestion of cloth wrapped around the arms,
the waist: it makes a box of you. Here is the point
at which eye and metal meet. I imagine someone
you once trusted traced a bull’s-eye there, so that
as you were walking to your room, or your father’s house,
you touched it lightly, round and round, with the tip
of your finger. The girls who modeled
your death felt a tug while walking to the studio,
a thread that made its way through sternum and the soles
of their feet and straightened, gently. This was how they held their heads so.
Emily Anne Hopkins is a poet and activist living in Rhode Island. She studied creative writing at Albion College (BA) and the University of Pittsburgh (MFA), where she taught writing and served as poetry co-editor for Hot Metal Bridge. Her work can be found in Quaint Magazine, The Fem, Twelfth House Journal, Poets.org, and elsewhere.