Self-Portrait as Tinnitus in the Dark

by Erin Slaughter 

for Lena & Will


Listen, cochlea: invite nightfall’s curtains
to weave their moths in your chambers.

The only drums you need beat on
inside the body’s cage, and even then will stray

for art or arteries. A ringing in the ears
is half-forgiving, half-forgetting.

Do your part. One lonely tone inside you
is making a fuss as it turns the doorknob.

And love it for its planned road-trip to the void.
And love it as your mind untethers

hell’s silk ribbons. Tonight, moonlight comes to your bedside
dressed in a well-tailored suit. Lie still, remember

the pitch singing pitch dark. Remember: I was here.

ERIN SLAUGHTER holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Western Kentucky University. She has been a finalist for Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest, and was nominated for a Best of the Net Award and a Pushcart Prize. You can find her writing in River Teeth, Sundog Lit, Tishman Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Elegy for the Body (Slash Pine Press, 2017), and GIRLFIRE (dancing girl press, 2018), and is editor and co-founder of literary journal The Hunger. She lives and teaches writing in Nashville.