to read an alethiometer

dear moonfaced girl,

pig heart beating slow:

passion has never made the blood flow heavy

through your stagnant veins.

even the clean country air pollutes

your lungs

and tracing orion in the pinpricks up above on a clear night

won’t make your eyes look any prettier.

lies come easy on your tongue,

greed in your fingertips,

narcissism in every glance into the smudged silver

of a mirror;

you write poems

as though applying makeup–

everything in its place,

kohl thick,

mistakes purposeful and perfect,

all picked based on your mental snapshots

of the prettiest boys and girls.

you learned so well to show the world your beautiful portrayal

of someone else.

perhaps you will find yourself,

one day,

inkstained and feverish,

shocked with the rising of the sun,

words spilling onto the page with the truth

and veracity

that has always been missing.

perhaps you will surround yourself with ghost stories

and folklore and fairytales,

and find your heart waking up.

listen, now:

first it will match pace with the sea’s sighing waves,

then with the smack of running footsteps

on wet tarmac,

then with a bird’s wings


as it first takes flight.

perhaps you will realize that the brightly painted bottles

in your makeup bag

can help you show the world who you really are;

perhaps your lungs will finally expand

like the sped-up stop motion of a flower unfurling,

opening its face to the day;

perhaps, like lyra reading the alethiometer,

you will learn again

that which you always thought you knew.

the frustration will fade, dear heart:

just wake up.