She speaks a various language.*
Bound in the bardo bereft
vaguely present, almost dead.
For fucking shining aloud
back in. Come again, sustaining terror
Carve my shadow on your cave walls
Render me a soul, source me
mystify, crush, obscure me
in your deepest gorge
confine, stretch, reveal me
Let me wobble
I admired your clouds, your starry nights, dew on
a green field; I saw a muted future
a four-legged figure bucking in fine fettle
a goat girl tramp tramping—
lost bride veiled in dandelion fur.
I am she who prays you,
breaks your water—
a brook sluicing blood song
scoring your legs, O Organ Mistress
grant one more red escape.
Birth me again!
Let me abandon all hope and enter here
kiss the mouth of the new world, suckle its air
emerge dark-eyed in a slick white coat, braying—
a knobby-kneed girl with a pink tongue
water beading in my beard.
*William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis (1811)
Isabella Russell-Ides is a poet, playwright, and novelist. Her trilogy, White Monkey Chronicles, won the 2019 Jemma Prize for Speculative Fiction. The winner of several theatre accolades, including a Critic’s Forum Award for Coco & Gigi, and Echo Theater’s National Big Shout Out for The Early Education of Conrad Eppler, Isabella is also the author of a collection of poetry, Getting Dangerously Close to Myself (Slough Press), and the creator of the acclaimed Magdalene Mass. Look for Isabella’s newest play, Jo & Louisa, at the Festival of Independent Theatres this summer.