Black Mamba

by Nicole Burney

DISCLAIMER: I’m no angel.

Print that on my appetites and shove it.


Once upon a time

I slept in winter

and danced the Black Bottom every solstice.


I split my tongue on Ps and Qs

the niceties of suburban greenways

and a Whole Foods off Chimney Rock Road.


Today is all about skin

the formula for Density (p = m/V) in loud yoga pants

like the Queen of Hearts I paint my roses red—I am not sorry.


Did you hear about the woman

who rent a tank in two?

She plucked an ​I​ from a lunch buffet and laughed.


I’ll show you how to smash a planet

in a mess of curls

a vulval pot of snakes and ripened figs

like the filleted heart of an unforgiven god.


Hoodoo ​is a fine word

to climb a throat

so willing to ignite conventions.


DISCLAIMER: My palms are open—

not for comfortable silence

but to gather tidal waves and upturned earth

to bless and scratch and build my own damn colossus.