Anser Journal

Three Poems

By Kris Hiles

I am draped in white
teeth, no wedding,

the lace of a mouth at rest
is not so soft

as air. The weight hangs
heavy. Quietly

I’ve been trying to weigh
how alone I should be, and how

long. Measuring
tape and fabric pins

cannot wrap me
in a barricade.

I am not made for walls,
each nerve is adjusted

as a way of life,
loose threads pulled

and the need for patches –
delicate, delicate cycle,

hands for hand washing,
hands to fire synapse

like a gun, like
they know their way

around a dress,
and how to make it fall.

I left.

The flowers are different
in the desert. They grow spines,
they grow sharp. Me too. I learned
how to live without water,
how to love the night when heat evaporated
and I could have my tears. A lone Joshua tree,
not a mirage,
growing through the patience of pain.

I never meant to come home,
no, home waited and never learned
the lessons of sand and clay –
the buildings are still brick and blue.
My parents are ghosts
now. I live in their house with white walls
who knew my secrets before I did.
Screams and kisses.

Soon, in the cresting waves of silence
I can finally have a garden.

Today was a crisp morning, and I hope
when death comes it will be warm,
slipping a knit sweater
over goosebumps.

I remember hunting rabbits,
my father –
quiet as I held the gun, a BB gun – whispers
if you do it right, it just takes one shot.

I remember pulling the trigger,
the explosion of air, and the crater it left
in the rabbit’s skull,
a bleeding moon.

I remember the fallen leaves,
naturally brave,
didn’t even move
to acknowledge a soul shifting planes.

Today I am afraid –
under the trees
the leaves in the grass are flying
and I am afraid.

Kris Hiles is an autistic queer poet living in a blue house with her plants and vinyl records. She likes snow, the smell of archives, and vintage computers. You can find her on Twitter @KrisHiles.