Absinthe, the Serpent

He watched her die
from the back pew high
on absinthe and rye.

Her face was bitten twice
by a rattlesnake
with length and scale.

Maybe it was her perfume
or the preacher’s breath
that provoked the strikes.

She watched him charm
the snakes
and the skinny people
standing close by
singing hymns with briny lips apart.

How could she hear the epiphany coming?

The preacher exclaimed
that she was chosen
as he sat erect and perspiring
in the back
of the police car,
arrested and intrepid.

The absinthe was from Spain.

He drinks more
to ward off the serpent,
and to shake the venom loose
from clutching tight to his chest,
every night since.

Divorce in the Eye of the Storm

The canoe tilts on the water
around the fish.
Reeds sway, crossing themselves.
Is it liberation or loss
that makes the eyes glow pink?

The moon smirks high over her head,
like the clock face on the wall
teasing the creatures below
with corpulent futures
unaware of the late hour.

The boat leans toward the shore,
a watery dream of shadow, shell, and weeds.

No mercy seeps from freedom,
no way to sleep faster
to avoid the ripples of a fresh disaster.

Someone near has named the storm.
Her animals uncaged,
ancient brown waters
rush the levees
chasing into the rafters
whole families of ever afters,
ensnared airs,
and disciples of hushed affairs.

The divorced are still downstairs, submerged.

The canoe quivers lopsided
against the winds,
and rogue waves race out
to strike root and rock
with her weary-weak confessions.

Explain how vows drown the willing
in two cups of wine, hers and mine.

The Gift That Falls from the Sky

A sudden kiss full of light
fell upon my head from above
where gentle winds worked the palms
down a crescent beach
dotted with fruits, En-Sof,
bunched high over cool-shaded inlets.

He rose from the sand,
a watery embrace
having braved a storm, crafting waves
into petitions for sleep,
nursing me from dreams to daylight.

He suckled me with virtue
and blew clouds to puzzle my searching eyes.

Then they turned green one day
like the plump coconuts overhead,
and he bowed to me,
a tempest of sandcastles on the air.

And the day washed over with slag
as he lunged to attack my tongues.

His blade struck me
to cut deep into the bell roaring above,
I breathed beneath
and fell back to the earth
ready to eat
and be eaten again.

His Tears Convict Me

His tears convict me
soaking the notes,
making them lean over
like injured soldiers.

His tears make me weak,
an animal skinned,
my horns, emblazoned with ink,
now something written, inflamed,
torn, and beaten.

His tears roll down panes at night
like firefly flashes gone sideways,
wafting into hot headlights alone.

he says they feel like small wishes
burning streaks into the flat,
bruised knuckles of my hand.

I try to catch them
to restrain their power,
their noise, their truth and poise;
they are singularities,
witnesses that accuse me
of perfect wickedness.

His tears barricade me,
leaving no exit,
like that night, years ago,
when I tossed his boots
off the foot of my bed,
naive of the storm outside,
and the other man lying down
inside me, hidden,
waiting to escape the stale rooms
of sheet music and men.

The Worm’s Short Night on the Farm

I hear him rustle
beneath the pine straw
like a monk’s brown reflection,
pushing deep to the leafy rot,
and I push it aside to reveal him
there at the base of the fountain,
amid the ferns—
an age-old, watery inflammation.
And then, he’s gone
in a slow-slithering flash
of mature, dark energy.

He is a scar.
A redolent chant into the expanse.
To reach out to him is to trace the past,
a galactic reckoning
among all the wounds in the garden.

Later, I see him
among the festival barkers—
barn owls screaming,
having burrowed into their gypsy fetishes,
hocking gourds or snapping mandibles.

He is a warrior among the gods
without his supple, lemony longbow,
unable to defend himself,
or hide again amidst the mulch
to ward off the shadow of descending fall,
the sound of clapping wings above—
he longs for the depth of roots, peat, and bones.

He feels the flame of the fight go out.

Mikal Wix was born in Miami, Florida, of green-thumbed, hydrophilic parents. Growing up among many cultures gave him insight into many outlooks, and later, the visions of a revenant from the closet. He holds degrees in literature and creative writing and has poems in or forthcoming in Beyond Queer Words, Tahoma Literary Review, Eunoia Review, and others. When not chasing storms, he can be found in the woodlot.