Paula Mendoza

She Describes for Him Very Slowly

The tall man filling receptacles with substances that resemble you, that is, substances of you, and you grow quietly certain that they are you: swatches of thigh, carved atria, hair by the strand and nest, assorted fingers, and blood. Mostly blood. Jars and jars of blood, their platelets corresponding to vials of every convolution, sops of greymeat each pit and furrow of memory. Your blood is catalogued by the breath which shimmered or seethed, by what press of flesh effervesced or congealed it to radiant viscosities, what thinned or thickened that crimson, as in—this specimen is of the first time you fell in love, hated your mother, held an infant, wanted to kill yourself, &c. There are many jars. There is a lot of blood. The taxonomy does not arouse terror, you are not afraid for the idiot pulp of you to be archived or articulated. Still, an arctic terror rises and sours in the back of a throat, pricks some skin to zero. The terror derives from the tall man. The tall man who is a hypothesis of wonder and fear.     I am afraid of this man.   I call out. The glass swallows every syllable. I call out. My tongue, a fat slug, shines in the dirtiest jar on the farthest shelf, and my eyes, in the cleanest one, look on.

Here is No Big Love For Your Big Heart Little One

I asked the woman what her necklace was made of.
It looks like shell, I said, or flat, jagged stone
She told me it was made of my skull

and that she had peeled
each piece from the wall
and floor

and washed the red away
and polished the shatters
until they gleamed.

They look beautiful against your skin, I said
Striking, truly.

Paula Mendoza's work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Shampoo, PANK, Ilk Journal, and elsewhere. She's an assistant poetry editor at Coconut Magazine, and blogs for the Michigan Quarterly Review. An MFA graduate from the University of Michigan, she lives and writes in Austin, Texas.