I want to tell you
I have swallowed swords.
That I have swung and balanced
rings of fire around my neck, my waist,
like a lover. How my hips have been
bit into, tiger-toothed, pinched concentric
cuts of moon. Here is my body, pure gasoline.
Once, at Halloween, I wore a black plastic
pumpkin over my head – carved smile
inverted and upside down – and danced
like murder with candy falling from my ears.
Friends fevered indigenously around my spirit
animal, which is a bearded woman on stilts.
The truth is the truth most of the time.
Open its jaws and crawl in.
Philip Schaefer’s poems are out or forthcoming in Fourteen Hills, The National Poetry Review, RHINO, Pacifica, The Boiler, Toad, The Chariton Review, Adroit and elsewhere. He is also the recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize. Philip can usually be found tending bar at the local distillery in Missoula, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Montana. He is haunted by waters.