Two Poems by Cat Dixon

An Attempt at Collaboration

The writing back and forth kept 
the flame burning and while 
it's nice to sit around a campfire, 
char marshmallows, tell ghost stories, 
and warm up your hands on cold nights, 
it’s not pleasant to be burned—skin scarred and sore. 
This fire is one-sided, I always figured, but to keep 
a torch going for over a decade is excessive. 

When we began, I focused on using the terms 
"persona" and "speaker" over the pronouns 
"you" and "me," but as time passed, all 
of the poems were embers and you wore 
thick gloves for protection. My hands were bare. 
I moved these sticks without concern 
until it was too late. I can't keep at this—
my face, caked in ash and grit, 
and my fingers, burnt black, flake off.  

What Happens to the Heart

When you remove the bandage, don’t be alarmed
by the bruise, blood, and stench. Covered things
tend to moisten, prune, and mold, and this
wound has festered for a decade. One can imagine
the infection and decay. Use the rubbing alcohol
left on the counter—note that the entire bottle is not enough.
The numbness dissipates and your skin burns. No
matter. This sensation does not faze you. Like words
and tears, nothing ignites reaction.

Cat Dixon is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and The Book of Levinson and Our End Has Brought the Spring (Finishing Line Press, 2017, 2015), and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet's Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in Parentheses Journal, Lowecroft Chronicle, Duende Literary, and SWWIM Every Day.

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