Savannah Eve Henley-Rayve

Thanksgiving At Charlie’s House

1.

The hold eats me alive again,
The merits and downfalls of my very own bone marrow is
Up there in the grip of giants far beyond where I can reach.
Where can I create without the burden of burns
in my lungs?


There is always this fragile and mewling thing on top
of my cracked skull. 
And what if it never lets up it’s cold kiss, shrouded already
in my fresh pressed blood? 
And if I continue on this way until the new dawn sinks?
And if it shrieks, well meaning and bold faced, through my skin? 

2.

The hold ingrains itself without even the new world order,
and I count myself grateful now,
That there are no more mouths to feed with the putrid milk come night. 

But the mouse kicks down the Christmas tree too,
See her own shining eyes pressed right up against the windowsill,
without fear.
It is only the mark of man which descends on the feeble minded home tonight,
crying out for me.
It is only the pure machinations that hold Lady Mouse,
in her small frame, above us all. 
I grabbed onto her divine coattails, aching with the need to be holy,
and bowed low. 
She regarded me with a new breed of loving sin and said,
“Now?”
I shook, holding this word down far in my flowering bones;
peace at last.

Here I grasp eternity, growling with many heads,
new and clean, like my cousin as she burst forth from my aunt,
wading in the cold, brave new world at last. 
Her head, glistening with the foul stench of life yet unlived,
and tapping her fingers one by one as she waits for an inkling of
imagination to lobotomize each fresh green eyeball.
There is no greater crime in all the earth, than a sort of 
waking up with no clear end. 
The boy she will come to love, aching with false despair,
Holding his head in his arms as if it may mean something new,
shredding through her skin with cold, quick, mute efficiency. 
But with the barnyard sensibilities of her grandfather,
Maddie may make it. 
Pray, in the glassy red cathedral for her innocence, 
give thanks for her new use. 
They will only hold the chariot for so many hours,
believing wholeheartedly in their greedy rights to her soul,
but never alone.
The coat rack I passed on my entrance is empty,
dead to me,
Resisting the stubborn flicking of my right wrist, refusal
means only life. 
They pay no attention to me now, ready to greet her
with big teeth and promises of a good future. 
Bullshit. 
I think we all know what happens to little girls when 
the arms are ready to embrace her, shiny little wonder. 
It is a cruel sort of thought, that I could be a mother, 
grasping onto Mary. 
I think we all eviscerate ourselves for the cause tonight,
before it is time for her to grow. 
Little limbs and measured breathing mean that love can 
ache through us without all of the piranhas. 

3. 

In the lights of the bar room I found my first call to action,
And knew myself for only a moment
less. 

My bones grew up and out of my skin, grinding, when it was 
midnight. 
I held very still for someone who was breaking apart, 
shattering and reforming like the cataclysm that 
the earth groaned forth from, in fire and ice. 
I crawled between myself and my father, wanting to rest in my
Own skin and bones before I had to die all over again,
everyday spent dragging myself along. 
I had always wished to be more like my dad:
strong. 
He never stops to think about things like “why this way?”,
man that he is. 
And I admire how little he thinks about Death, 
only a shadow to him. 
There is nothing quite like the way a corpse can rule your life,
The same young boy still echoes in every word I ever wrote, 
his bloated corpse, possibly ashes, always questions my gaze
when it wanders. 
It infects my blood, this ceaseless wondering and fear
that I’ll wake up one day and let myself think
that yes, he was someone I could have loved.
How many years until I really have the right
to say his name in more than just stanzas and lines,
to touch his death?

4. 

On the car ride home I can barely contain all the words
I want to let bubble through my blisters.
It falls out of my mouth, sweet and sick onto the pavement 
the bile of a life’s work. 
God I wish I could capture it for once,
scoop up all the chunks of food and release them back to their proud
page. 
My cousin laughs from the back of the car, knowing tomorrow still comes.

Can I still claim to be a writer if no one reads it,
laying in liquid form on the sidewalk 
of Cincinnati? 

5. 

Where am I to be now? 
A whistle ringing out among the trees, alone?
A makeshift basket holding the odd placenta?
I am a body in the making, new dawn and old world
colliding as a specimen, daunting to behold. 
There is no limit to the ways I’ve learned to break myself down, 
able as a result to fit inside anyone who 
wants me. 
A livewire screams into my bloodstream every waking hour,
holding me tight until I can’t breathe. 
I suspect it knows my lungs as well as I can hope to 
know the fireside laughs. 
Drifting off makes for an easy exit, I love to
feel the burn of sleep crawling through me. 
I can’t help but think that there is always more 
to see, grand and unnamed, in the land of waking. 
I’ll kick this addiction to being someone uneasy 
sometime this year.
The problem comes when I am allowed to be ice cold,
Left to find myself in the remaining snow burn. 


I will crawl to Los Angeles if I know how to
keep myself there,
Holding vigil under every palm tree until someone will
listen. 


But where has the time gone! You were just a little girl 
last time I was in the old house. 
Yes I know, Aunt Lori, but these things all have their place don’t you
think?


I should like to comment on the way I was before,
How my favorite color was pink and I knew it,
How I broke my ankle, but asked the doctor for a blue cast. 
I never had a chance, none of us do, in this place we
tear ourselves up. 


Wonderful evening to be in Ohio, 
Away from all the places that rip me through like a 
portrait of myself, lost to time. 
I should cower at the enormity of us all, 
but here I am. 

About the Author: Savannah Eve Henley-Rayve is an LA-based writer and recent graduate of Beloit College. She’s an alumna of the Sancho Panzo Literary Society’s Trinity College Dublin residency program, through which she received her first publication in New Square Magazine. She was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2023 Nick Adam’s Short Story Contest, and her work will be featured in the upcoming Summer 2024 issue of Allium Journal.