My eyes follow the green glow
of his kitchen walls as I lay on the floor,
The smell of his compost
And our dying bouquets leaking
Into my nostrils
Like cigarette smoke hiding
Behind a set of teeth.
I think I feel my body being lifted,
Floating up I make eye contact
With the drying candle wax on his dining table.
But, as I look down, my hands are still
Flat on the cold tile.
I don’t feel its touch.
It is all air.
(I can sense when he enters a room
Without needing to turn my head.
A thin string of awareness
Connects one rib cage to another.)
In this moment,
My eyes are still occupied by my fingers,
Numb sparks shoot up my arms
As if they are asleep
Every time I make contact with the tile.
My vision focuses on the pink glare
That is blossoming from the space
Between my touch and the floor.
The doorway is at my head.
My hair lifts ever so slightly
As I feel him crossing the threshold of the kitchen.
The tug of the string feels dangerous,
Like my bones are at the brink of their resistance,
Threatening to break through the skin.
I feel the sudden urge to run past his dark form,
Through his rotting front door,
And into the night.
I long for the cold from the pavement to seep into
The soles of my feet.
I hear the music of my blood too close to my eardrums.
I feel his arms before he starts to reach for me.
Bells is an Oakland based artist who works in poetry, painting, and drawing. They explore through their work the poetic interconnections between our physical and spiritual bodies with nature and inanimate objects.
Arsimmer McCoy is a 34-year-old storyteller and the mother to a righteous 10-year old girl child. Born in Baptist Hospital, raised in Richmond Heights, Fl. Arsimmer earned her Bachelor’s degree of Arts and literature at the historic Florida Memorial University and picked up a few things as a theater major, at the University of Evansville in Indiana. Arsimmer gives thanks for being able to produce work in the form of poetry, short story literature, creative writing, performance, educational workshops, and creative direction, for over twelve years. McCoy resides in Miami Gardens, which she will still refer to, until the day she dies, as Carol City.
Don’t ever mistake me again.
My smile is not an invitation
for baseless declarations.
It is the black silk slip
my mama made me wear,
under my dress for church,
so no one could see through to
It’s the stockings over my chicken pox scars
and playground war wounds.
My tiny purse carrying nothing
but candy wrappers, a note pad, and crayons.
When I got grown, it became red paint on coffin nails.
My smile is merely a clever covering
I have utilized,
like many other items,
given to be by my mother.
I remember her washing me in the bathtub.
My mother cupped my face in her hands.
The corners of my lips curled and she told me,
“this is where your peace begins”.
My smile is a dance.
It is shade in a comfortable place.
What my smile is not;
It is not a vulnerable place for you
to lay your hands.
It is not a sign of submission.
It is not target practice to relieve
You after a day of hell and unrelenting
Don’t mistake my smile for shame.
Don’t make that mistake again.