Billie Arthur

"I’m 26. I live in Olympia. I just self-published my first poetry book in January."

Wildfire

I used to watch you

Shimmer under sunlight,

So sure you would not grow

Hot in my hands.

Arrogant and ever certain

You would not scorch me.

 

I must laugh, though bitter is the taste

Of watching summer children marvel at your flame-tips,

For they know not your design.

It is with sigh that I anticipate

Your impending destruction.

 

It is now, at high noon,

(With not a shadow in which to hide,

With not a sheen of romance or teenage incandescence

Or small hour haze in shades of blonde and honeydew)

That I encounter my silly complicity in your rampage.

 

I must laugh, or I may curse into midnight,

For our mothers were right.

Behind their taut and colourless mouths,

Beside their obstinance and unforgiving faith,

Yes, they had been right.

The Black Nothing

I fear the intangible darkness that slips through my fingers

Like seawater in the night.

I reach out for what I believe stretches onward

Yet each time I bend towards it, I lurch

Into the void.

 

I feel her knuckles tasting my skin —

The edge of my cheekbone,

The downy hair at the back of my neck.

I rise for her, sway into her,

Clumsy but curious to know what she smells like

Behind her ears and between her breasts.

 

I rock and I stagger like a boat on the back

Of the black ocean —

Hips surging and reclining

Dangerously, alluringly.

 

I keel. The Dark departs, still and again.

She sprinkles her blouses

And the tendrils of her hair with

A fragrance for which I long.

Ever errant, she is a temptress.

 

Within the folds of her shadowed cache

I know not what awaits.

My stuttering curiosity

Nooses and heaves me

Toward the edge of the earth’s face.

 

Too many hours were wasted whilst I hurled stones.

How long my naive ear would peer


Just above her lips, desperate to know


Just how cavernous she really is.


I grew ravenous,

Impatient, and enraged.

I was slow to accept that she perhaps had no end,

That her essence would me forever evade.

 

The Black Nothing

is an inflating tomorrow

In which I care not to swim,

For I see not what poses in her catacombs.

Canon

There is nothing left to say about you

Besides the inconvenient truth

That love was not enough to cure my stale illness,

My blithe, to congeal our syrupy attraction.

 

We ebb like the tide 

But I may have been the shore,

Fixed in place for generations,

So predictable, my grandchildren

(if I had wanted them)

Would sink their tiny toes inside me.

 

Each time you leave, I am reminded of your design

And all I have to show for your separate presences

Is the soft touch and silky wetness at my edges.

 

Love is not enough to keep the water close,

So knows the moon in Pisces.

Hours will pass and the sun will stand

And I will harden, so hot and sharp

The hoards will scamper to escape

My places you have not yet embraced.

Halloweekend

I pushed myself down the Five,

Unable to make big decisions.

Halloween settled with a brand new

Kitten at your heels and in your plants.

I wore a dress I could not afford

For all of twenty minutes with your

Hands on me in your candied canopy.

You tore it off me like a spiderweb.

I was heartbroken, only I had not known it.

 

I hate asking you to hold me,

Not because I hate you holding me,

But because I hate me for needing it,

For not being strong enough,

For not having arms long enough to

Tuck in my anguish tight and safe

Behind my ribs.

 

I just know you will hold these

Things against me tomorrow.