Paradox

**This poem is part of a poetry series by Cecilia Ruvinsky**

Lavender Aztec skin asks me what I want, amongst trickling Cupid fountains and constellations on my thighs - sincere, as if the answer should be obvious, a slab of granite on my tongue. I will think of magnolias and black coffee, darling, Charles Dickens and tabbies, and I’ll pull ribbons and ribbons of them out of my throat, until my lungs fill with passion and blood, but I will never tell you that.

You can’t tell what you don’t know, whispers Moses. Part the Red Sea, little prophet, then let the fishes crawl.

Maybe I want it all to stop, suggests a Slavic olive branch. Maybe I want them to stop turning words into weapons, and weapons into love, because I know that that’s not what love is really like, right? That it’s not double-edged and conditional, a metallic smack at midnight that sounds like all the tears I will ever cry, that it’s supposed to taste like Cherry Garcia and perfect rhymes, and curl up at the foot of your bed at night? No, darling, I don’t know, and I wish I did, but it sure as hell smells lovely trickling from the cup of your pipe.

I might go to jail, but I’ll go to jail smiling. So smile then, Ursa Major, and let the spiders caress their legs against your lips as they escape your gaping mouth.

Little lies tickle the back of his throat, and he spits them out into her hands, phlegmy and warm. She stretches the mucus before my eyes tells me it’s not that big of a deal, and it occurs to me that she must be some sort of witch. I want her to peel back her skin and show me the green underneath, reveal to me the warts and the hairs that speckle her chin, so I can know for myself that she’s not human, because of she’s not, then neither is he. I hope the bed they share is rosy with the breath of hellfire.

            Have a cookie. It’ll taste like metal, but it’s enough so you’ll forget.             I’ll smooth the crumbs over my eyes, and be blind to who you truly are.

Your denim jacket weeps for me as I shredded her belt from my neck with fingers bloody and weak. This wasn’t supposed to happen today. I hold icepacks to my cheeks and pray the numbness will bleed into reality, but it stays and builds a home in my skin while you make some calls. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

            You can still create a life that you love.             

Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? I can’t. I can’t create a life that I love, because nothing seems to love me back. I screech questions at comatose gods until my lungs implode, and they’ll never get fucking answered, so why do I pursue such a crimson fate, sitting against slimy porcelain bathtubs while my heart lays dying in my hands? And why is it that that those I care about never ever care about me? I’m left with cactus thorns in my eyes, pretending not to notice, because ignorance is bliss, and I’d give anything to be ignorant once more. And now, to the lady with Lavender Aztec skin, I know what I want, although I will never reveal it to you. I don’t want to just want people; I want them to want me too. I want them to rub sun-oil on my back and lean on my shoulder, spoon-feed me compliments that stick to the roof of my mouth like taffy so I can savor the taste until I die, cherish me, every feather I pluck from my skin, and lay me down to sleep in arms made of cotton, so I can dream the things that real people dream.

            You can’t tell what you don’t know,             So smile then, Ursa Major,             and be blind             while you create a life that you love.