High Intensity Interval Training
They’ve hung a mirror above the hotel bed we’ll
only sleep in. A heat mirage wavers in it
each time the train rattles by. We gather our skins’ sloughs,
drink from plastic cups wrapped in plastic. We look forward to going
back or we’re here to look for someone gone. Heads grin
from inside glowing boxes. They’re searching for a girl. They break
into other heads. What we do in hotel rooms exists
for only as long as our bodies fill the bed, before
more swim in. The way we fill & empty our
bodies changes over time— a slow spill. A brea
backwards. How hands smuggle & muzzle through days.
What I spilled in & out of me to fill & empty I did in secret
yet in the telling there was a seizure—an ostensible way
to sear it from me, as a limb. When other people heard me
as I did it, though, there was a horrible impropriety.
I used to check into hotels with another girl for the breakfast buffet
& the toilet. We would take turns going back & forth. Hands with light
shining through. Today, cops scroll through the woods behind the hotel for
the body of a girl. She was white so they’re making a fuss. In a thicket behind
the third hill back, there’s a hole filled with parts of a body but it’ll take
them three, four days. For years, I was only parts of my body.
Or a hole, I want to say, but it wasn’t that hard, I know,
I know because I walk around in my body. I can stare up
at my body in the mirror & pray for a late check-out.
Hands two-stepping. Morning hands puffed to loaves.
Blessed are those that today go missing & those that get found.
Blessed are those who tremble in doorways like mirrors in silver, who
vomit up dinner, who walk across a long bridge for no reason
other than that is a cord stretched between
two needles stuck into rocks. I said hit me & got paid.
I no & meant it. I said we’re good & we weren’t
but we built walls around the idea like a heat mirage. Dropped hints
the way helicopters drop bodies into water. We can hi
each other with our hands like a hole in water where a body
was because we don’t believe hands with nail-holes
mean anything. Can listen to the back & forth of the ai
conditioner’s hum & the football players hitting each other back & forth
across a field on TV & the keening whistles back & forth in the hill
from men wearing blue hats & rubber gloves. Hands in the bells of flowers
& throats. Blessed are those women who wear their names
stitched over their chests who answer to men, those women who don’t work
under their real name who answer to men. Blessed are the hands that drop
dollars into garters & those whose stomachs
drop like pennies into wells & those who drop the contents
of their stomachs into rivers. We can watch men’s flashlight sweep
back & forth on the wall above our bodies blue & white
like god. Like they’ve a divining rod of light that’ll
illuminate a body swelling with water
or shrinking from air. There could be a doe
eating goldenrod in that girl’s thicket. There could be beneath
our narrow bed a skeleton. There could be beneath the bedrock
a river, cold & sweet. A river of milk or blood.
Laced with arsenic or veined with gold. My hands
as clumps of stitches over veins. Hands sheened
with grease & sugar. Blessed is the falling empire. Blessed are those that run
through the woods, & those that hide in the woods, & those that sweep
food over scanners & into purses. Blessed those who peel back
the leaves over the face, those who drop
timesheets into time-clocks, those who drop pennies into water
& over eyes. Look how much time I’ve spent digging for a place to hide
food. Hands as corkscrews for night. Look how days roll
over. A leaf browns or greens, inverse processes back & forth
with water. Clumps of bodies weave on & off streets,
inverse processes with time. Blessed is the coal that’s left. Blessed those who sink
into barstools & TVs & bibles & sunsets &
beds. Our hands turn keys & steering wheels, turn into
kestrels & pickups & taproots. They clean bodies
& hotel rooms & pistols. Grasp at rain, hammer out
a new town, set it alight. We get to swipe cards back & forth
through machines for dinner or shoes.
We get to swipe cards in hotel mirrors to crush powder.
NINA PURO’s work can be found in Guernica, H_ngm_n, the PEN Poetry Series, and other places. A member of the Belladonna* Collaborative; the author of a chapbook, The Winter Palace (dancing girl press, 2015); and recipient of a fellowship to the MacDowell Colony, Nina cries and works in Brooklyn.