Paula Mendoza



Dehelixing Adora (At the Tip of His Tongue)

He invents the snow for word, and folds his hands.

I crossed my poles from dusk to east, and fasted

in the winter of his cell. There, my body became

uninhabitable. Nevertheless, men


burrow a certain death and call it home.

He is certain, tasking the rook with flight.

I pry my jaw’s vise, emancipating all wingless beasts.

We sew scripts of exile into the lining of robes.


He invents the night for word and I lap at salt

behind his knees. For those weak of limb must crawl

to know dawn’s mauve approach. Forgiveness

invents a hasp for hearts. And nevertheless, my vices.


When opening a fist, finger by finger, found a tooth.

Which is not the word for gone, though they may sound alike.