The Moon Io // On Being an Angel

You are an insurgent in a dream, you haven’t died yet
but you know you will between coffees
in cups smiling into themselves creamy leers in
your hands and the slaps of light on the water above you, everything
lambent, clicking like a night of insects
that sets a dream orchard blinking.
How you age and break things. Io
makes an effort to communicate: her mouth, gnawing the air.
She releases a black glassy bile—Io in your dream—the hole
of her mouth cannot be filled—she heaves
and you cup your hands over her mouth,
spilling it back into her she is hungry what will fill
her again, you are in a dream,
look in the mirror
what are you seeing is it
you wake up look the dream
in its face that’s your mirror as though
you had been calling out in a dark night,
how your search party pictured you, what
machine makes a noise makes a party
change course. Io gurgles in estrus.
The moon, the horned
virgin. You are in a dream and you are losing little battles,
gone the arborous boulevards, the trees working
discreetly in the medium of air.
The gray matter eats itself the white matter
convexes like a pale stomach breaching from a chemical bath,
the pressure of its possible depths crushing someone like you—you are
tired
of revolution, gurneys with their tendency to veer,
the bathrooms dysfunctional in unspecified ways,
clean but unusable, light-filled. You keep aging but you haven’t died yet
how should you know about an ending you’ll know an end
when you live the last of something, gone the paper
hats and the sobriquets. You look
in the mirror and an old friend dies.
Io wears a mask of your face, you look at her
and adjust. You pull angels
from the bathtub, from the chemical bath,
from Jenny Lake, fistfuls of duckweed. You are sick
of a purge that proves nothing, conclusions minus clues. The amygdala
curls inward like a fern.
You are losing. You are in a dream
foreseeing a spotlight on the ocean floor.
Viscous things like faith
loop through themselves, single cells, its nauseous.
Io is scarred such that to look at her
is to look through a scratched lens.
Craters spindle out, turn ashy at their hundred tails.
Her surface belies the watery expanse some believe exists
beneath. Everything for a while was strange.
You had just been procured,
dumped into time how were you supposed to know what was dangerous,
your lower lip comically large, your baby teeth
serrated at the tips, a feminine lack
of calcium. You evolved, you came
into focus into applause like the click of a plague.
How couldn’t you fear something with so many names—
a bull, a swan, a fist
of glitter sticky as pollen.
Io is sick of the open fields,
the open hands. Their eyes closed.
Your eyes closed,
maybe. You don’t remember, it’s hard to talk about.
You remember baby teeth. In the dark
room you pull yourself from the tub, in the dark expanding
like the eyes of a slug, you imagine sea things
grow legs and lungs. The room its own cell.
Walk up to someone, anyone, say
This is my dream and I’m dreaming you; they just shrug.
Age and break things. We are made from little sparks. Io
autochthonic. How could you be safe
when you are verbose but sinister, shy. Io fatherless, farther.
Are you friends with planets? With anyone?
Are you tired? You’re the last
face of revolution. Gone everyone. Blood
spreads from holes darkly: a field of black eyed susans.
You walk slowly, squinting.
A moth beats itself against the blink of a smoke detector.
You are here. How you know that’s how it will
end because that’s how it began, the moon
spherical, virginalized, ancient and cold.
You have anodynes and a machine
that produces the sound of waves.
You are dreaming, I am wearing a mask.
I’m in a search party and in the distance I hear your voice.

About Aiden Arata

Aiden Arata has written for Medium, Potluck Mag, and BOMBlog. She's worked with Argos Books and the Mellow Pages library. She can also be found on Twitter.

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