On Self-Deceit

I tie myself to the good-girl mast
but it’s a punctured raft on land.
Golden grass stains both my knees.
I say sorry. I say thank you.
I say please.


I wait for someone to untie the knots.
It’s not a question of show or tell.
It’s not a question.


If I set fire to the image. Fire clears the land
of excess. But the mind remains


The forest knows


there are needed fires,

and fires birthed by selfishness.


In “Self-Deceit #1,” Francesca Woodman, naked
on all fours, curves her torso around a desolate corner,
toward a square mirror against the wall.
Looking down. Averting her own gaze.


Some eruptions start small in us.
I like to think I could feel the blood quicken.


Rage seems ordinary, easy enough.
But it takes something from you to
travel there.


The volcano I live near could take me
out, make ash the last word.


Parts of me are dying.


I don’t have to walk the cemeteries
to speak to them.


To hide or seek might look the same.


What I’m looking for
is subvocal.

Patrycja Humienik, daughter of Polish immigrants, is a writer and performer based in Seattle, Washington. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, the Adroit Journal, SAND Journal Berlin, 128 Lit, Ninth Letter, the Slowdown show, and elsewhere. She has collaboratively developed performance work for Titwrench Festival, GayCity Seattle, REDCAT New Original Works Festival, Dikeou Literary Series, and Film on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Patrycja is working on her first book.