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  • Anisa Layton

"Self-Portrait as Geode"

(Vol. 10 | Spring 2023 - Cowley Alumni)

I avoid you until dirt buries sun

And rush out of sight at the resurrection of dawn

I’m an accusation of stealing your misplaced keys, a purse,

A wallet, ID, and earbuds in the pocket of pants

Tossed and forgotten in your washing machine.


But thoughts are law in one-routed mind-mazes

Call me a thief of things I don’t want and didn’t take

A burglar born from volcanic ash beds

A parasite who vomits makeup and those shorts you say are too short

But “I’m not judging – you’re good.”


Whose return every time is a surprise stretches your face into a sphere

Who invites you along with groups of friends and to fit in makes me the center

Of jokes you didn’t think I’d get. Every dismiss, every jab, every interrupt, overlook,

Pat on the head, touch of the skin, I withdraw from all your forms and figures


Eyes strained like split light on celestite, I see the sky through the window

Crashes, door slams, spitting, stinging stir sanity

Dust particles from the ceiling settle on my skin, the beginnings of dirt on a casket

You groan when I rise I inhale hot air and feel eyes pierce my skin I face you


My existence can only be found in the wrinkles of a blanket

On the second bed in your room I was not born from thousands of years

Of rich air, cool soil, and the water of life to be cracked by you

I lift the collapsed coil of my spine in knowing

There is something stilling to the silence that settles

On spears of calcite, amethyst, and quartz springing up from the inside

I am the dew of the universe seeped in blue, star-like, uniquely interconnected shards

I am not your flesh-mirror

I choose to be no one to those who will never know another



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