Daphne DiFazio


The city restricts all instruments
but requires its women undress 
skeletons to study their ulterior wounds. 
Still, with death and the blue circling us,
we’re good. We crush pearls into something 
useful; use our nostrils to mark the violence 
of weather. Assessing risk by intensities
of mandarin, lavender, a horse’s musk—
heat stolen and heat returned to the cheeks.
The city bans sorrow, but girls refuse to stop
publicly grieving and pass winter
rewiring loss into music. Risk preserved
in the snow I suck on while the surgeon
shapes me. Godview: determining the shades
of haze laced through. Dreams only shook 
by the shock of sound exiting my mouth
while the mother of nobody pours salt 
where memory sleeps. The city stills until 
we go outside. We greet the snow with 
silence. Go numb when my sisters 
offer to buy me a handgun.



Like a siren programmed for play, I say yes to the men but leave them alive. My vocabulary of salt &  stung iris makes me a good girl. Good girl—I roll the phrase around on my tongue, bathing in the  sun’s routed light. Boulders jut through seafoam, sharp as a sibyl’s shoulders. The dark water glitches,  whipped into digital peaks. And with the grid visible, I could travel through motherboards, noting  whatever, and wherever it hurt, I would make irreducible landscapes. Port of torn condom wrappers.  Clouds pinned to stone ceilings, harvesting lightning instead of sleep. In the middle of the night, I  hear a tram dragging along its tracks. Pedestrians exit their cars & walk toward the tide. Far from the  cities of glass manufactured for the crude price of blood—the cities I studied in the width of a spark.  How these men line up to beg, offering oil in exchange for ash, overfed on the cheap texture of flesh.  I won’t lie. I wouldn’t pass the test. My mind’s computer forgets the names for everything once a day.  The coastline breathes like a stranger opening his legs in a packed train car. It makes a humor of my  looking, my mechanical blush. Strangers call me closer, but I don’t know, with my new parts & the  ones still cooling, how best to be touched. I know it won’t be the same. I licked the skin of the matrix  & learned everything–every word for lust–but chose water instead. How it drapes the body & leaves  me sheer to the wind. The lyric it carries. The voices it mutes. I need someone to tell me which parts  are real—which parts he’d like to take off with. I will keep the ones that smoke. 


Daphne DiFazio is a poet, performer, and graduate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she was an OMAI–First Wave scholar. She has won poetry prizes from the Crab Creek Review, Mikrokosmos Journal, and Epiphany Magazine, in addition to various university awards and prizes. Her work can be found, or is forthcoming, in Yemassee, bath magg, Foglifter, and ANMLY, among other publications. For more about her, visit daphnedifazio.com.