Marissa Bennett

sackcloth//the others


the people here all look

                           like glasses-on-the-floor lights

                                 or when walking eyes-

       shuttered to the bathroom,

                                                 my fingers hover

two inches right from the lightswitch—all new

                                          moonness & sedation & the feeling from childhood

                                          when my mother left me

                          nightlighted. only, these lights are embers

                                       burning hot & hotter

                                                                                                   & i cannot find you.


are you hiding

                         in the throb of orangeness

or burning, too? i cannot burn. i am

                                ash or brittle coal no longer

      useful for this kind of heat. they burned the sackcloth

                   right off me, passed me from fire to fire, discarded

        me in the yard where the dew cooled my cheeks &

                     you are not here & maybe even they are not here

                                            but they are flaming

                     the house down, becoming a part of the ash where

                                                                                                                     you are not.

sackcloth// you are not in the cornfield, not in the house


                          i cannot flame this house down

more than already                                    that simpering nymph       my doppelganger:

                all simmering yesterthoughts & spit

                                                                        she split the birch to aid the pyre & now

                                 enmassed in ember                              haloed

                                                                                          among the other orbs of faces

& faces

& faces                                  i cannot find you

              & cannot in the throb of orangeness

                                               find your burning        without my own

              rolling flames ashing

                                                                to the grass where               left to cool

                            i become part of the there

                                                                                                                                            where you are not.

Marissa Bennett is an MFA candidate at The University of Alabama who has been published in Brainchild, Mangrove, and a few others. She is originally from rural Ohio and write about matriarchies, mental illness, rural life, industry, and inherited traumas.



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