Cindy St. John

Map of What Can Cut You

Speak/swallow highways
horizontal your fist on the horizon squint one eye

sink/eat/starve 500 miles in a car you don’t own
with lips that are not your own and a language you have only half-
memorized to get here

bend/lengthen under the sound
of wind of box fans like no sound or white light or distance

tap the glass remember the body
sweat in the sheet of stars soundless

speak/tip toe over orange
faces/names/tequila bottles

swim/drive your field of vision infinitely
multiplying the weight of your arms you lived/died

Break the glass

fade/disappear into the landscape isn’t this
what you wanted?

We’re Having a Party

Slice the length brittle bodies slow
fold open, insides flutter out trash confetti

put the red body bags in the tequila and wait
what else am I supposed to do?

Sometimes I lose my breath sometimes I run
at 4,500 feet it is hard to try

to imagine glossed with oil
how it would feel breathless

he said looks more like bruised
internal organs than the surface

of the ocean, but that’s what it is
to have my lungs winded outside

my body that’s how open I want to be
wait, go to the bar

it’s what we can do
Sam Cooke on the jukebox

she said that Dr. Pepper is the color
of your hair with the light and the girl

blushes and she is open
the bartender Yvonne is open

calls everyone baby
the weather channel shows the whole

damn country orange waiting
just because

I am crying doesn’t mean I am not having a good time.

A Woman of Our Own Fragility

Many Soccurros in this town
beautiful, like safety

a stretched open bird call
tongue taps lightly the roof

Soccurro Soccurro you know
I’ve never met one, just hear her

like a whisper, lulling
slow lazy sex

bent hard as stars.

Shit Just Got Real

The sun is not a simile
not a space

not yellow, some other
horizontal color

here is the putty
shape inside me sealed

one said peanut butter
one said mustard

they both said can-
certain but I do not

slowly slide black
out of me

like the sun’s arms
if the sun had arms

if the sun spoke don’t talk
to me about rays, metaphor

to a body anything
can happen, like a brick.

Be the Heat

Begin in the hip
of Texas
there are places
we go to keep

from going somewhere else
mountains distant layers

blue as if you could
break where

does the light come in?
here is where

America shows its history to itself
water, fig newtons, toothpaste, jeans,

many hand-drawn maps
your lonely honey-colored face

just because there’s a trail
don’t mean you belong here.