Anima Helena | Tessa Bryant

Left to the night, we are pagan. Our eyes

moons, which pull us like spring blossoms

from the earth, settle us like petals in the

grass. We are many-armed, frightening

beasts with legs spread wide in supplication.

We no longer hide in caves and tents as we

bleed and mourn ourselves. We create our

sex from dirt, from emptiness, from bruises.

Our eyes roll back in our heads as we please

ourselves, as we break and re-mold our flesh

into blades of sunlight. This is how we will

give birth to the new world. We are accustomed

to needle pricks and dismemberment.

Your threats die, shriveled, in your mouths.

You may stay as long as you like; you cannot

smoke us out.

Tessa Bryant is a writer, educator, and performing artist. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Eastern Washington University and lives in Nashville, TN.