Wedding The Hand That Harms Me

by Amy McGinn

after Selima Hill

Ciara tells me I have to be selfish. So I say, the blood
isn’t mine but I want it to be. So I say, he licked the
butter from my fingers but I wanted something worse.

Alanis Morissette sings to me in my dream. I tell her I
cut the tongue from the mouth that didn’t want to house
it. I tell her there was no blood. She stops singing.

I grieve the mahogany hands that moulded me like clay.
I carve off the ruby nipples and they meld into an apology.
I didn’t mean for the night to catch fire like this.

I wear the same blue dress and step into the smoke. It
sticks to the back of my throat like a threat, like a hard-boiled
sweet dipped in cyanide. The dress glitters despite this.
The dress glitters to spite this.

The fire says, you are a sweet thing. The fire says, stay
awhile. So the flames kiss my alabaster skin. There are
ivory teeth and an open mouth that swallows my sin.

In the morning, there is blood. In the morning, I butter up
my other hand. Ciara tells me I have to be selfish,
but when have I ever been anything else?