The Alchemy of Arsenic

The Alchemy of Arsenic
Neile Graham

Toxin. Cure. Murderer, healer, it’s not
that we want things easy but that

we want them true. Its lines are solid.
Thick and thin. They’re a house, a home,

a shelter for us all. Inside them we work
together remaking our skins. The stitching

doesn’t hurt us much. Like a fresh tattoo,
it burns here and there, now and then,

and then is just part of our flesh. We suffer
it because it’s part of our evolution, so we

can become like it, our spirit dangerous but
necessary, to make light sharp as a laser,

to turn all the metals to gold, to paint, to purify,
to kill what ravages us, build everything

anew. To make a cure for all ills. So we can
come out the other side, ruined and renewed.

Wracked with marvels. Razed by wonder.
Then reborn. It is poison. It is healing me.

Neile Graham’s poetry has appeared in previous issues of Liminality, and in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Interfictions, and dozens of other venues, online and in print (see, as well as in three collections and a spoken-word CD. She is a 2017 World Fantasy Award Finalist for her work with Clarion West Writers Workshop.