HELL IS REAL
warns the interstate billboard
between pastures and pig slaughters
this landscape of disturbance
smells like home to my soul
the sun’s pollen heats
a body of cows
invisible behind dirt devils
mooing in another language
hell is a gas station
of glaring bony-leered eyes
the giant sky turns to me
with cornflower irises
through titanic turbine lashes
across unblinking horizon
for miles and county lines
speed trapped in the lord’s name
I am my own holy place
I try to navigate the palace of the axe.
As the soul inhabitant, I own the only waterlogged map.
Through the pupil –
entrance gate I amble
This Way That Way Wrong Way Dead End
…..through the stone and hedge maze.
……..My ragged directions can’t account
……..for the trickster paths, changing
……..every other turn turning me around.
When I finally find the end—
….the start of the front steps—
I rest on gargoyles stationed
….on either side of the stair.
Their pebble eyes guard my ascension
….up to the front door.
……..I heave the golden knocker—
……..bull nose ring—
…………and wait to see
…………if a ghost-me will let me in.
My castle spires and haven iron
splinter upward into iris-blued sky,
under synapses shooting like stars.
….This massive edifice does not glitter nor kingly gold—
….grey matter and mass, brick walls bronzed, was built in shadow.
……..In this interior, my queendom is crafted
……..to source light from my sense of safety.
My spirit opens wide,
….politely asks me to disarm at the door.
I command the helm—
we worship the rock and the
hard place in dire straits.
Kylie Ayn Yockey (she/her) is a queer southern creative with a BA in Creative Writing & Literature. A variety of her work has been published both in print and online. She has edited for Glyph Magazine, The Louisville Review, Ink & Voices, and is the poetry editor for Blood Tree Literature.