Scorpio Cento

Scorpio Cento
Lauren Campbell

From the poetry of Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, Marianne Moore, Margaret Atwood, Ezra Pound, Terrance Hayes, and Denise Levertov

I have gone out, a possessed witch 
in my austere black uniform,
a candle in the thighs
like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two—
whack their boys’ limbs,
fold in their arms
as easily as an old woman reads a palm.

Black sweet blood mouthfuls
of their most secret heart,
the aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.
It throbs in the teeth,
wakening senses to bite on
the tongues of hell.

When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone
I break out of my body this way:
all night dark wings,
my head a moon,
my selves dissolving, old whore petticoats—

levitating a numb minute in the updraft.
I want to be the wind and I want to fight off the wind
through the stretched night,
of a snuffed candle

If I’m alive now, then I was dead.

Lauren Campbell is a graduate of the Creative Writing and Publishing Arts MFA program at the University of Baltimore.