LAZARUS WAS A HOUSE ON FIRE (WOMAN) by Audrey Dimola


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LAZARUS WAS A HOUSE ON FIRE (WOMAN)

i.

‘well aren’t you a fascinating creature,’ 

he mouths through mists of drink and i don’t think 

he recognizes the perceptivity of that word choice

and no, i don’t mean fascinating- i mean 

the other word, the one reserved 

for the feathered and furred and 

women like me whose bones

sing songs like fires

in the landscape



in my belly there is a house in

flames and i lit it 

those rarities of space in which

we can stand inside our nakedness

human incantation of the wild

woman, incarnation of the

burning

she was the one who

taught him

he never saw 

the body as an altar

how to nourish a universe

with your own blood, selfless-

WOMAN-

you need no scripture

to remind you 

what is inherently 

yours.


this is dancing in the

temple with feathered

wings

this is the vibration

you came from

grounded



this is the deer you

locked eyes with

in the mists

before sunrise

this is the presence

you came from

persist


this is the ocean

you crashed through

on new year’s day

this is the

shock in the

aliveness

laughing


these are your

mother’s hands your

grandmother’s throat

arms that scale the

walls and legs that

make roads


whether blamed or

exonerated, whose

hand lit the match?

i tell them

i did, I DID IT 

to remind myself

how to be brave enough

to re-birth

how to be whole enough

to remain free


when asked-

what would you save from

a house on fire?

i say-

a torch,

the fire.

me.


ii.

if i took my clothes off

in front of you

would you press your palms

against the windows

in my flesh

try to suffuse the light

always stretching outwardly

try to bind the slivers that

split between your fingers

the smoke that pours from

my bones, each

expression

inside the gesture, 

he said 

is what’s precious

so what lives inside

this moment?- this breath

this hand over hand

earth under fingernails,

climbing, this-

holy stillness 

in the middle

of the night

your 

skin i lull to

comfort, my blood

transfigured as

eternal mother, these

eyes filled with

emotion that never quite

spills, just-

wells, just- stays-

when i met myself in

the bent mirror at

the cloud gate

for the first time!

Seeing, with a capital S,

stretched

like all the light from

windows

like all the restless

fingers like

i know my womanhood

is wilderness and i will

go to the grave defending

that

because i’ve been inside

the ground

i’ve dug that pit i’ve

laid with the mud

uninhabited, i 

know what it feels like

to

surrender your eyes

and your heart and

your throat not to

god but to

nothing.

but i am self-willed.

the word wild is a contraction of

the word willed

and this is self-willed land

this is

bones cleaving so

shoulders can crack and

wings can breathe,

fanned full against the space-

inward, seeking wonder!

i said i saw myself

in the ground

he said, in the gesture is

the treasure, what

do i want my fellow

souls to remember?

see me as the movement

of standing up out of

your own grave

icarus returned as

the messenger

they plucked my

heart from 

inside the ribs

of lazarus

i said

my

womanhood is

wilderness

and i will never

apologize

for that.




Audrey Dimola

Celebrated for her dynamic presence on stage and on the page, Queens, NYC native Audrey Dimola is a poet, performer, curator, connector, and lifelong artist. She is the author of two poetry & prose collections, “Decisions We Make While We Dream” (2012) and “TRAVERSALS” (2014), and curator of a unique circuit of events and creative opportunities marked by a wondrous spirit of empowerment and exploration. She can usually be found: writing on everything, riding her bike, climbing trees, pushing the edges of reality… And of course, stoking the flames. audreydimola.com