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by anthony thomas lombardi

certain that the heat from my cheeks


could snuff out nearly any act

of violence. I’ve caught enough lions


by the tail to understand the meaning

of scar tissue: an anger so pointed it could


take out an eye. it wasn’t until

I ran out of room on my forearms


that I learned the difference between

an itch’s temporary relief & the wound


that smooths over it — the way wind whips

sand into nothing. I don’t know where


my limit is. I find a branch that won’t flood

my senses with pine oil when I snap it,


whisper, I’m sorry, use it to draw a tidy line,

& tiptoe directly across it. the warmth of blush


that creeps up my throat paints my face

its most natural of hues. God catches me


by the ponytail, a creature worth saving, but when

I spit up the Eucharist, I don’t know how to


tell Him it isn’t because I’m not hungry —

I just can’t stop laughing. must be nice,


God scoffs, to be so sated. the word sated

is sharp as a shard of glass. my toothiness


is getting on God’s nerves. I’ve been learning

to breathe so quiet that the thrum


of a lightbulb is like thunder

in my ears. last night, I exhaled so heavily


I knocked over a lamp post. the car alarms

sang so loud & I fell asleep so thirsty,


like dirt that has never known rain.

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