Danielle Pafunda

So I am alone, now. I choke on hair.

So I am alone, now. I choke on hair. I cannot drive or chop wood and I certainly cannot rise before dawn, so I begin to slaughter those things that can. I kill a rooster and hack its comb free and it sings. I put a tension rod through an engine block. I choke this axe with hair. You are lucky, for when you drop by, my axe is bound in hair and when hefted halts and weighs above us like a spirit for whom we’ve no board from which to call. She rides above us like a water witch, a broom gone far too far. Her tears are made of hair and her hair is like that of an entire colony of drowned rats. A dead meat. Her meat is made of hair and kills its way in the slow intestine. Nothing happens quickly anymore. We got to the future and it moved terribly slow around us. Slowly. I was so swift. I outpaced it and returned any number of times until one day I was tired and said I would like to die now, but the future could not be reached for at least thirty years. I thought about it some more. It was forty years. It was a lifetime, barring any intervention, it was a whole ‘nother lifetime. In it, you were a daguerreotype. The plate had caught your wig and above it the blade with a wig in its gut and a wooden hard-on for going places. Later I was photographed with the same wraith, and my smile that shows slightly pointed canines as though I cannot outpace my animal past, which is true, I cannot. Did you know? Did you know me when I was telling you clearly line by line who I was. Did you hear the one about the hour that went by on this very night when I thought I might die but for my fat charges stacked up behind the door? If I open that door, they’ll tumble out on me, and my shame over this hour will replay. Did you hear that? It is this hour ticking through the anyweaponsinthehouse. It is the hissing of logic that hits the pan and evaporates on contact the pan is a metaphor I spell it meataphor, I think, that’s funny, I think I still think things are funny, this hour is passing moment by moment. You don’t surface. I wonder if someone should dive in after you. That would be me. You would worm out of my grasp. I would say: I am drowning. You would say: there is nothing here to get drowned about.



Don’t bring me anything when you come to my door I burrow I don’t nest

That every day must include
its clutch / egg-
like seers caught up
by raven/nous. Who knows
how long I'll hang here
like this dreading.
A swell wave of dope / seed
flushes exposed
I piss / through a slit
in my hide
the hide the blind the beard
given / like the finger
meant only for each one
in its arc / wink / stamen
its stale mate



An Aries promised to the dirt as are we all

Who can do anything now, brides
as we are, impossible brides of
plastic time. It was said / this belief

that every day include pain.

Punching in a sitting-down
position / the moon / between

the well-organized god of war /
and her mother, a loose rack
of damaged goods

liquid, covered and thick /
a bird’s mouth cannot / feel heat
but can swell. It has a tongue

that everyday must include pain.

What’s missing? The stars,
the royal we of a virus
issuing new instructions to old
proteins, a candle in its guttering /
gutter / a cave of roses issuing
scent and camphor ants and a path

that runs down the spine, a river
of substance P / pain. / wait.

Every day must include you, white referent,
and every day must include the belief

I can walk to the dump.
I can fit in there
travesty reek of strangers’ lives

more honey / in which I
landfill secret slosh debris
I cannot contain the belief we extract,
tubular, from the earth / inter waste / wait


Danielle Pafunda's books include The Dead Girls Speak in Unison (Bloof Books), Natural History Rape Museum (Bloof Books), Manhater (Dusie Press Books), and Iatrogenic (Noemi Press). She sits on VIDA's Board of Directors and lives in the desert.