How Divine
{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Susan Slaviero

lives and writes in a random place just south of Chicago. Some recent publication credits include Fourteen Hills, Wicked Alice, Sein und Werden, and Lamination Colony.

Susan’s chapbook, Apocrypha, is forthcoming from dancing girl press in January of 2009.  She co-edits the online lit zine, blossombones.

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Ukemochi on Her First Date (after The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr)

Forget what they tell you about
the moon’s stomach as a means

to his affection. I fed him as
one would any birdling satellite:

with boiled rice from my mouth.
I stirred wheat in his belly crater,

offered all I had: the beans from
my womb, the fins from between

my teeth, wild game from my
hair. (I have silkworms for

eyebrows.) So he leans in,
as if to dance, or whisper.

And that sword of his—
I never saw it coming.


Lucifer: a self-portrait

I smoke cigarettes made of chaff (wheatless
& unscented), ground scarab shells, Greek letters.
I burn a pentacle on my belly with the lit ends,
leaving my skin charred and fragrant. Tomorrow,

I’m pitching mirrorvisions
(a woman with beetlefingers,
outstretched, worms
in her nostrils), forking
into mowed yards
where the grass is red,
threaded with silver,
where lovers
dangle, blueskinned
and nude: marionettes,
bone pendants swinging
in tornadic
air, always facing
left, always
searching for whatever
outside the frame.

(I’m just another androgynous
angel with muddy feet.)

I palm the bony protuberances
on my skull, prick my lifeline
till it bleeds green.

A chained wrist is so much more
effective than a trident-tip. No one
asks my name (as if I were too
busy to answer), but if they did,
I’d say: light, lucidity.