Dome Riddle

by Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz

Tonight I am riddled by this thick skull

this white bowling ball zipped in the sad-sack carrying case of my face,
this overwound bone jack-in-the-box,
this Orlando's zero, Oaxacan offering: cabeza locada, calayera azucarada, clavo jodido, cenote of Mnemosyne,
this sticky sweet guilt hive, piedra blanca del rio oscuro,
this small-town medical mania dispensary, prescribed cranium pill,
this electric blue tom-tom drum ticking like an Acme bomb, hypnotized explosive device, pensive general, scalp-strapped warrior, soldier with a loaded God complex,
this Hotchkiss-obliterated headdress, Gatling-lit labyrinth,
this memory grenade, death epithet, death epitaph, mound of momento mori,
this twenty-two-part talisman wearing a skirt of breasts, giant ball of masa,
this god patella in the long leg of my torso, zoo of canines and Blake's tygers,
this red-skinned apple, lamp illuminated by teeth, gang of grin, spitwad of scheme,
the jawbone of an ass, smiling sliver of smite, David's rock striking the Goliath of my body,
this Library of Babel, homegrown Golgotha, nostalgia menagerie, melon festival,
this language mausoleum; chuksanych iraavtahanm, 'agi kwa'anyay sumach nyamasav, 
this hidden glacier hungry for a taste of titanic flesh,
this pleasure altar, French-kiss sweatshop, abacus of one-night stands, hippocampus whorehouse, oubliette of regret,
this church of tongue, chapel of vengeance, cathedral of thought, bone dome of despair , plaza del toro y pensamientos,

this museum of tribal dentistry, commodity cranium cupboard, petrified dream catcher,
this sun-ruined basketball that I haul—rotted gray along the seams—perpetual missed shot,
this insomnia podium, little bowl in a big fish, brain amphitheater, girl in the moon,
this 3 a.m. war bell, duende vision prison,
this single-scoop vanilla head rush, thunder head, fastball, lightning, rod,
this mad scientist in a white lab helmet, ghost of Smoking Mirror,
this coyote beacon, calcium corral of pale perlino ponies,
this desert seed I am root to, night-blooming cereus, gourd gone rattle,
this Halloween crown, hat rack, worry contraption, Rimbaud's drunken boat, blazing chandelier, casa de relámpago,
this coliseum venation: Borges's other tiger licking the empty shell of Lorca's white tortuga, 
this undressed godhead, forever-hatching egg, this mug again and again at my lips,

and all this because tonight I imagined you sleeping with her
the way we once slept—as intimate as a jaw, maxilla and mandible hot,
in the skin—in love, our heads almost touching.

When My Brother Was An Aztec

Last updated December 15, 2022