Self-Portrait as Tinder
You part your hair zigzag again, so I can’t ghost you.
I swipe across your scalp & perch on its dandruff—
it snows mid-August & I feel so super special
without my seasonal depression.
Had such small wavelength, no true imagination.
& so, I theorise about the green thumb
of my mother; the lilac pyramids in her front yard
& the headlights of her car, atomising
the dark. I was only myself, trying music—
who is only me
in motorised skin—& thought:
a pianist is only a prison
guard holding a key & thought, now this music
had made a good woman
of herself & still, you break my heart.
& so, I waited for it to rain
my lover’s beard—he’d cut the hedge
& flushed the stubble.
Shaved the chin
into the wheelbarrow.
Roller skated to the street sign
with his razor—looked so boyish:
wish I’d known him. Found a neon
seed, a smoke of worms.
Found the stencil
of a six pack shape a lovesong
like a turtle—found it in his hair
& you got so jealous.
& so, the lanterns baptise
their light. I heard a god invent hibiscus
in Alaska, & it all happened in my body.
Pinched two things that exist
like they did not, & so now they’re woke
like me: a praying
mantis on a popsicle—aren’t you absurd?
Something outran my childhood like a cyst
on a kitten & it was just a prototype.
They tell me to fix it, or else—
& so, was my own death only fiction?
For everything behavioural
there’s a thesaurus, there’s archeology.
I couldn’t hear god
think that day, couldn’t replace it,
& so, the ferris wheel in my Babylonic
head, so the language. & so, you are
& aren’t you a dynamo, spinning on air.
& aren’t you just artificial grass in snow.
Hey, I’m back. Came here closed atlas, peppered light—
swung beneath a disco ball, didn’t feel it.
Watched the robbery: everyone hunched
their hips under the laserlight,
smeared across their skin like green
lipstick on St. Patrick’s. Didn’t feel it
wear off. Came here
because the street was pouched in light and I had no clutch
to go with my shoes, yet. Came here asking people in whose image
you were made— silly me,
forgot you didn’t have to be made twice
to be remembered. Came here and then the music
Came here because the street lamps were low
pyramids— so ancient, but I still wonder who’s the dust,
who’s the museum and
where is the dance floor?
Pre-electric light only had one emotion: a single longing to dissolve
came here because there was a silencer
screwed onto my lanterns.
Thought you might know something about the body that isn’t bodiless,
Know I’m only soft at a distance, only brutal to myself up close.
I’ve got a blindfold between my shoulders— I only measure uneven
5’6 but hear you’ve got a ladder,
hear you’re a forest and I’m returning in my head-lit canoe.
Nadine Hitchiner (she/her) is a German poet and author of the chapbook Bruises, Birthmarks & Other Calamities (Cathexis Northwest Press, 2021). She was a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has been published in Midway Journal, GASHER, Red Ogre Review, and others. She lives in her hometown with her husband and their dog. Find her on Twitter: @nadinekwriter.