Sacrifice by Tawni Waters


The love poems I penned
in blood
have long gone black.
These sluggish veins are
the only inkwell I have left,
these chasms clogged
with clotted brown.

What kind of songs does a river
when its water has run dry?
Do the sounds
of scorpions skittering over stones
make a new music,
or is this the Valley of the Dead,
where nothing grows but graves?

Sometimes, when I dream,
you still shine,
light from a sun
that died a billion years ago


and filled my night so full of stars,
I swore it could never fade.
Even the name on your tombstone
doesn’t sound the same.


it was a New Testament.
I spoke it,
and grass sprang from crags
that had known
only hard sediment and cold stone
for centuries.

Do I leave one last lotus on your grave,
leave you to the underworld that drank you down
like the thirsty ground drank Cain’s blood?
I have


weeping for so long, wanting your ghost
to appear, bathed in blue light.
The sky is the color of winter,
white and cold.


I grow old.
My skeleton shows through sagging skin.
I become like Jesus, sweating blood.

My Love 

My Love 

why have you forsaken me
left me to be swallowed by this barren sky
to die at the hands of demons who tear at my hair
who rend my red dress and cast lots for it
rape me and raise me
nailed to your cross?

My blood, brown as it is,
seeps into the cracking ground of your grave.
My death rattle a raspy prayer
that this last gift
will be the thing to finally save you

from hell.


About Tawni Waters