the alchemist

in the lab there are chlorides and nitrates, acids and hydroxides
memory carefully measured in vials, heartache in a flask
something unidentifiable simmering on a burner about to boil over
the alchemist looks for gold to show from within the iron
she looks for gold with her hands full of loose change accumulated
from staggered breath through a payphone receiver though her trade
becomes as obsolete as those payphones themselves. she mixes chemicals
to provoke reactions, acute spikings of words and movement to create
tension and explosion, flexing her veins and baring her arteries to
acid emulsion and light-flecked questions of why everyone always leaves
and how can she change, how can she change. by her bedside she keeps
the ocean in a bottle and goes to sleep with salt on her lips, but
you can’t make love by mixing metals and the lead in her chest will
eventually oxidize and grow heavier still.


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