Midsommar // Danika Stegeman LeMay



I forget your name is cut from mine. You’re not as I remember you.

The cell is the fabric of the macrocosm. Cords couple the living and the dead. 

Bowing draws the notes taut. The snow falls and falls. Vomit encrusts their duct taped lips. Buckle and keen into their glassed eyes. The throat enters as violins to limn you like a portal. This is the end I asked for. 

It’s winter in my heart. Hey baby. How you feeling? Disengagement. Frames into other worlds speaking through mirrors. Who’s outside. The statement is a question. 

Birds dismantle a surfacing whale. We peer from its ribcage. Does a community of mutual indifference constitute a community? Your disembodied voice deflects, consumes the walls. 

Future I feel in my body. I try to give it words but my grief defies shape. The smoke grows inside you. The taste of earth on your tongue spreading. 

Your eyes are green. Mine are brown. Shovel of nesting, shovel of dirt.


We’ll arrive on the day of your birth. Gentleness is enough to coax a sob you won’t release. I translate your tongue without foreknowledge. The timing of my healing offsets a continuum of field. Everybody lay down. Taper the grass with your fingers. Fall through. 

It’s almost your birthday. Your hair is gilt. We were born on the same day. I lose myself in the embrace. 

Through a corona that doubles as a gate. Doubles as a frame. Doubles as a portal. Doubles as a crown. 

Fear blocks grief from exiting your body. Put it under your pillow and dream about its power. 

I braid your hair in a complex system of breathwork. This is the temple. This is the bear. This is the storyline of desire. June is the zenith. You’ll never be brighter. 

Drop the curtains. The day is unspeakable. 


You’re frightened of everything. The shape of a ring from above–death lives inside us like winter lives in blades of grass. I can’t keep writing from a place of longing. I’ll have to find another way. 

The light pillars. It undulates from your chest.  

You understand it as sacrifice before it arrives. 

Grief breaks open in you. Time becomes mute. Cicatrix of dumbshow. 

The inevitable corrupts the spirit. Please cry. I beg you.

My organs become a locked chest. I don’t know why I’m here. I’ll take your hair and the grass. And your love to the roots. Exhaust bellows from your mouth. Face reversed. Grief reformed. I bewitch you into twining. 

My mother is dead, and you are an orphan. We share a name.


You’re given permission because you’ll never escape. I hear the lie. False plank in a wooden floor. 

We lose days. We take the shapes we deserve. Lidless. Lipless. Dickless. The no-home turns Judas for a pocket of lint. We forget we’re beings becoming other vessels. Life-holding. Dance me to death.

We bow low and turn concentric: we diagram flowers. The blooms widen. They drop their petals. Their pistils. Their stamens. They expose their charred hearts. They perfume the air. 

We’re taken into spinning. Take my hand. Now take my hand now take my hand. Tie a ribbon round my waist. 

We become movement. Time falling into place. Kairos. We slide into a common language. Mother-tongue. Crown of flowers.

I become immaculate with joy and mercy. Kiss of belonging. Lift me to the spotless sky. I’ll banquet at the table of God. I’m the May Queen. 


The world reveals itself. Force rippling and an endless cacophony of cutlery and gorging mouths. Pupils dilate. All matter writhes with decay. 

Soprano to alto, we intertwine our voices. Union is inescapable. I breathe you like mist. Lay me down on a bed of flowers. I’ll guide you inward where you need to go. Look me in the eyes as I place your mouth on mine. The act belongs to all of us. 

You understand the veil must be lifted. You gaze through what pierces you. Is there desire when bodies are parted? 

Doubly surrounded / become a mirror/mirrored. Dispel the grief you’ve held in your lungs. The orgasm is an exchange of energy. Can you feel it when it’s offered? Splayed open like flayed wings. Close your eyes. 

You can’t speak. You can’t move. Your eyes are flowers. 

I’m wild with obliterating life. I grow tired of your cowardice in the face of me. Your worthless flesh of self-alarm. The dead are stuffed with straw. They are naught but stalks laid down on the grass. This is how we remove the viscera. To sew your body inside. 

I become fearless. A talisman of flowers and a face of stone. 

The taste of chrysanthemum lines my mouth. We feel for one another. 


Danika Stegeman LeMay’s work has appeared in APARTMENT, Blue Arrangements, CLOAK, Concision, Leavings, The Woodward Review and Word for/ Word, among other places, and is forthcoming in Ethel Zine. Danika’s debut collection of poems, Pilot was published by Spork Press. Her website is danikastegemanlemay.com.

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