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.