IN THE FIRST DAYS, IN THE VERY FIRST DAYS
When the future became an iron lung, I gave up on time, packed and drove away.
Three equinoxes later, the virus crossed like a ghost.
With each turn the world had gotten looser. I had the sensation of bobbing wildly in a rapid that gradually emptied into a mirror-still pool. I was alone, and everywhere I went I found nothing, an emptiness that rang through me like lightning.
I was in my attic when contagion took up the lung. I scrubbed the floor, sat by the window. I read out loud don’t want to be free want to be with you and god’s laughter filled every hole in me.
Still I went to boil sap. Still I cut trails and trimmed the flowers from the grasses.
I sang the same song every day. I called all the names and the one without. Everybody thought it was the beginning of the long-awaited end.
That summer laid an egg, the sun presiding like a scar.
Over the cowardly hollow,
a translucent skin
to a film,
on which the image
repeats, reminds us.
I disappeared in the bog, gathered wood for the fire, let my body evaporate.
The idea was to let the others keep you alive, and they tried.
I chose hepatica and bloodroot from under the leaf litter, the air curling around each breath as though to shield it against the cold. That was its own world, the stones and the scythe and pulling bittersweet off the great white pine.
There was a place called the deep woods. I made a fire there. And what was born: many-named, howling, serpent, raw, encompasser, in autumn it looks like this. Do not fear yourself, it said, even as you set the world burning, possessed.
I couldn’t stay, though, loving the red roots for their ease with death. In the city I had to believe that every building hurt, and the light streamed past in a living smear as though pulled out of its body by the heavy hand of god. Pockets sunk with gold, I walked into the sea of image to drown—
Once, alive, I wore the dress of Night. And lost in the quiet, again, I was.
It’s not that I am without ambition. I want to be fed your own raw heart like medicine.
the dead rise in every body & burn
like hatchlings for their first meal,
or the bright sheen of rock
when wind pulled in light,
& the polyps on the sea fingers all
were ghostly magi forthcoming,
as clean as you are—
If time were a mouth, rhythmically opening and closing, slack and constriction, messianic heartbeat /
we can taste both death and life, said the
dream, and left a coat of rot like honey on
Cy Ozgood is a queer poet and witch living on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land. They are the author of several chapbooks, including Cynthia, published by The Magnificent Field in 2021. Their astrology work can be found on Instagram at @bullofheavenastro.