‘Lithographs from the Apocalypse,’ ‘Venus Pavillion’ and ‘Invocation for Healing’

Amy Jannotti


just imagine me spectre / crater / wound
sclera white & bloodless where i oughtn’t
anophthalmic / socketless / spinning
backward / missing from orbit / coverblind & spine
glittering / imagine how i hover inches
from this windershinded globe / i have come
as a keepsake / as a sympathy to pull
the chain / to rattle the dead / to be not
afraid / skeletal / winged / to ride a pale horse & turn
the rings of this world by sword / a wretched observer
from my quiet window of sky / the road
is dark / my knuckles are cracked / if i do not turn
back i cannot be haunted


there are girls among us whose heads are already terrariums; who grew eyes in too
many places & no wings to cover them; who twisted longer in wrong ways in pursuit
of sun. there are girls who glimmer holographic; who betray the simulacrum; who split
the rainbow into its aggregate parts. there are girls who can hold butterflies & render
them flightless at a touch. skin as chrysalis is such a common metaphor but no one
warns you about being a girl & having larvae suckle at your fingertips. no one warns
you about rigid tongues. there are girls among us who have already been consumed as
meat & returned as honey; who shave their fur so you will not know them as vulture
or bee. these days i’m less of a woman & more three doves in a birdcage under a
trenchoat. a fish head with glowing eyes. coral in the form of breasts. sharp to touch.
these days i reach into the water with branches like arms. less of a woman; more of a
warped ceiling. bordering on metal bordering on glass. if you look at my face & see
only your face reflected back, don’t startle: i’m just a caged eyelid. built to withstand
enormous pressure. i flicker like a dovewing or the sun on rippled water. a repurposed
& working art.


i kneel before you dregged collodion; wet / plate, coated; sensitized & blurred; forgive
me if i seem a little / spiraled; natural like a syllabus; psychotic like i just learned /
what’s going on. forgive me: my spine hurts like it’s stacked; like it’s bookish. i’ve given
myself just this one / tube to breathe through; this one ribcage from which to reach;
forgive me if i crawl / from your leather briefcase & startle you with my paned / eyes.
forgive me if i reflect you back & it’s too much. forgive me if i’m paranoid / that after
all this (gestures vaguely to a shelf of volumes, cracked) i know / so little. forgive me
if when i bound the clock it took our seconds back. carve these anatomical / markings
from my skull; peel the scales / (goggles) from my eyes; the world is so / (negative)
septic; prolonged / exposure intolerable; hold me, my transparent / support; my dome
/ of glass; i can’t read / your label or unstop / my halide teeth; i don’t require /
polishing equipment or toxic fume; reverse me like / a mirror; let me drip silver like a
stain; difficult / to render what with how i contain / about as much blue as the sky

Amy Jannotti (she/her) is a pile of dust in a trenchcoat living & writing in Philadelphia, where she received her BFA in Creative Writing from the University of the Arts. Her work has been featured in Non.Plus Lit, Burning House Press, Fever Dream Magazine, & elsewhere. She tweets @cursetheground