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Emperor Constantine Spits

i haven’t got a comb so i tear out my golden hair and flirt with the boy next to me on the couch, 

I don’t like him

i sit on his lap anyway 

my hands disgust me as they clutch at his shirt 

as if there is something inside of him that i could ever want 

of course there isn’t 

he laughs, my palms feel like prophets

like they are hearing everyone’s heartbeat all at once and 

teasing me with the knowledge

I am Eve, I am Pandora, I am Venus

I want to know and be exquisite as I know it 

there used to be an orange in my hand but i gave it away 

bloody orange, the source of my power 

plump with oil paint 

sometimes i put my head on people’s rib cages to listen for an orange 

I have not found one yet but when I do 

I’m prepared

to reach in past the shell and grab it 

orange heart, red ripe organ 

pry it up and 

suck out the sweetness 

I want it to drip down my chin and neck in torrents 

into the hollow between my breasts where it will be sticky later 

where the thrill of the moment can collect 

Tell me, what will I know after I locate my orange?

Tell me, baby. 

I ask the boy whose arm is around my waist.

Do you like me? 

We go into a confessional together. 

it is small and dark 

every sound echos with sanctity 

I tell him I want to find something but I hate myself for looking, I get the feeling i’m looking wrong 

but his big hand feels so safe so i praise him and say my hail marys 

until i realize

 i cannot feel my heartbeat

so i say unto him “you are not a real priest” 

he tries to grab my hands 

“let us pray.” 

too late 

there is nothing holy left. 

Did a prophet predict the loss that came next? Did a prophet predict the abandonment of oranges? 

Lead me to the exit, prophets. (I show him my left hand.)

“This is Miriam.” I whisper. 

He bites her off and spits her to the floor, long fingers go limp. (Oh great leader!) Maybe he is confessing something. 

I raise my right palm like the other half of a prayer, “This is Mohammed.” 

Again a flash of teeth. Blood but the kind you can only see by its thickness and smell. Iron filled blackness as the boy pulls me close and hard to his chest, asks if I can feel his heartbeat, 

I say “no” because I don’t. maybe it’s that my prophets are pinned under his shadow 

he meets my pitfall eyes 

pulls my head back by the hair, 

asks again. “Canyouhearitcanyouhearitcanyouhearit” 

my throat is bared to him, pale as a planet in the palm of his hand 

i can feel my voice vibrate through it as i answer “yes, father” 

“yes, father.” 

I imagine myself as emperor Constantine, because it’s easier 

until it’s over and i open my lips in heaven, (in the beating heart of hell.) where there are no oranges at all. 

and where i am only maybe dead. 

But I have not given up my search for an orange. I can feel the juice on my lips, I stagger, I ignore any and all angels. My arms are still bloody and prophetless.

The search will be much more difficult. 

I make my way through the clouds to Heavens only bar 

Classic dive. 

“Do you serve oranges?” i ask as i walk through the doors, licking my lips with a bloody tongue 

“Only beer.” 

“Do you know of any ways back to earth? i need an orange. 

The white of the sky silhouettes the bartender. 

Harps moan in the distance

halos seem to glow a little lighter. 

“All i have is space junk. Maybe you can use a telescope to find a crack in the cloud layer.” 

to whom did i give my heart? 

The answer is limitless 

and I am alone. 


I creep to a hole in the clouds and peer through. 

The ground is a moonlength away 

Remains that way with a telescope 

I confess, There is no hope, father. I know something now. 

so instead, i do not swallow for a minute or two,

I let saliva gather in my throat 

summon phlegm from the depths of my stomach 

and when the time is right, when the clouds and constellations have aligned 

I spit from the firmament 

with everything in me 

and watch it for as long as i can, squinting, hoping my hand will catch it. 

Thalia Perry is a writer from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She takes inspiration from small things in the people around her.

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