the woman in the attic

woman in the attic

By Catherine Pabalate

poison is my modus:
a cerebral one, death
sweet and cunning —
a gutting from indoors

the quilts in the attic
simmer, soaked in my sweat,
traces of honey, enlaced
with phosphoric flattery —

passion boiled.

undo my curls, and
call me your monster
butcher me like a lover
and wring out my tenets

i’ll let rage flow carmine on

my collarbone — 
gemstones clotted in a 
coquettish fever

i am this house.
raise your steak knife at me
and i will swallow you
like mildew in the dampened carpets

i will be beautiful, darling
and let the blood of my gums stain —
i will spit my ire at you and
be ugly and horrible

i take my names and chew them:

i am dog biting man
he pleads for god, so i say
utter me: a prayer

i am a dissertation of mania
a menagerie of termites
the curated image of god’s wrath

i am the reason there is no eden 

Catherine Pabalate is a UNC sophomore studying English and comparative literature, biology, and medical anthropology. She works as an undergraduate researcher of the health humanities in UNC’s HHIVE Lab.