recipe for banishing

for J.M.

if you sense pernicious         stirrings in your midst        walk backwards until you arrive      at a precipice     overhanging the ocean          jump      up three times turning one hundred      eighty degrees               in the air so your left           foot lands in your right           foots print and vice        versa vice versa vice       versa then whisper        your name thrice           backwards while inhaling     

wait for the sea to rise      first it sends its salt to sniff your feet and face     do not speak to the salt but offer      it your left hand           let the salt      take your hand leaving      your body behind at the precipice           once in the brine your      hand turns into a silver finned fish with a mission as

the sea swells

your fishhand swims only       down at first  it finds     a hole in the ocean      floor it enters      the hole and is gone                                                                                    there a long time

your right hand is         nervous  it needs a job      to calm it but you must       not let it do     put it over your heart and tell     it to listen to the sloshpushpull     beat of your blood         as the ocean licks the tips          of your toes  do not move          until your fishhand returns 

the sea surges

upwards          as the rising          brine begins to lick          your chin  your right          hand submerged senses its siblings     approach now a flaming fish     lefty has eaten molten     earth its silver      scales turned        fleshtone in some earthcore        kiln it settles         on the stump of wrist     it left as the ocean licks your lungs         guts and         heart fire from the depths courses    in your arteries     and veins and pounds     in your ears  then    

the sea recedes

easily and wholly you breathe              air  now you are fire             earth  water and salt     you are no longer         the oceans or anyones        morsel no outer          intent can enter      you now rest free           from harm as your warm          heart beats brackish           and luminous in resonant ribs

to break a curse

when the cold solstices night        sky is revealed  walk         follow the pinkest star until        dawn lick dew           from green leaves and sleep             in that starguided space until        a crow alights           on a branch that bobs audibly beneath             its weight  open        your eyes  let the crow watch        you when it blinks  sit         when it bows  stand       when  it   speaks     ask it                              to give    you its beak

tie the corvid        beak to the tip of your littlest        finger with tendrils of vine        when the crow grips your shoulder  take        the drop of blood it draws        with its talon from beneath your skin  and feed it        to the beak  thus fed         your finger sprouts tiniest feathers  eyes  and wings and       encompasses a mind beyond        reckoning  the beak        squawks the crow                          grips you  the four                      wings beat in synch  lift       

you above the clouds   at length carry               you to a shore of shells   you know               not where           there          two rocks tower          above yet within        waves one obsidian smooth  when        you land on the other rock  rough               with barnacles   the barnacles begin               to sing the suckedinsong    of unmaking    quickly            before your feet       dissipate   the beak squawks   the tide                recedes                leaves

one shell  the color of           bruise  four wings beat furious        flight to the sickly        shell the beak fast snatches              it before the return of wave wings sweep                  you up to the farthest reaches of       ether         there       the beak drops the carapace onto the smooth           stone below  smashes the shell  breaks        the curse  and all other spells 

your finger  now merely a finger           vine tendrils untie  slip aside             in the wind as the beak returns             to the crow  the crow             flies away  wingless you           fall into the sea  you swim        to the shore  you dont know      where you are   but you are free

Bio: Rae Diamond is a writer, composer, and singer of experimental music and text, and is the founder and director of the Long Tone Choir. Rae lives near the San Francisco Bay, but feels at home in wild, green places. Find Rae at @rae13diamond

Image: laurajodiehex