Let the gallows tilt at me in my petal
thin gown, let hammers fall, and nail
me down, let the vipers’ fangs in. For
tenderness, is not within my walls, no
adventurous bridehood for me. Listen,
life is lonely, when the dead wed you,
pass you from hole to hole like a spliff,
suck your auras and drop you stiff into
the abyssal wastebasket. I, fucked by
death, tossed by death, laid crumpled
aside death; who comes to a frozen
pond to drink? Only the not-living, only
the weariest and most desperate of
beings press their mouths to me,
try to suck bit nourishment. They get
nothing out my chest; inside, the fish
belly up, the weeds locked in tendril
touch, the rocks burnt by freeze that
will never break; see here, I horde
shipwrecks and corpses and half-
starved dreams, mountains of fear,
veined and still, organs blued, the pale
statuesque hills of clotted moments I
shall not allow killed; go on, bang my
metal, meet my dark eyes, and hear
a howl, no god upon my entry said yes
to my joy; quick, I was muscled into
sorrow, dipped in saliva to erode my
hastened soul; wolves, thunder like
wildebeests, maul and tear, so I am
molded by red tooth and claw, by
brimstone, the evil stars; never, shall
I suffer a kind paramour, never know
the Spring’s thaw; understand, the
Mothers say I am wicked in ways,
the Fathers say I am obstreperous,
so fated to hang, I’ll swing before
Winter’s up—can you see me?
An icicle, with a sack over its top?
The masters will have me sunk to
the bottom of the tempestuous sea
by next year’s first brindled dusk.
No pink sky for me, when I draw
final brief breath, and crack close.
The Devil take his brass ring* back.
* the brass ring placed around a sentenced individual’s neck, behind the ear, that aided in instantaneous and painless death by hanging
Renwick Berchild is an emerging poet. Her poems have appeared in Vita Brevis, The Stray Branch, The Machinery India, Lunaris Review, The Blue Nib, Slink Chunk Press, Streetcake Mag and other e-zines, anthologies, and journals. She was born and raised on the angry northern shores of Lake Superior, and now lives in a micro-apartment in Seattle, WA.