I’ve changed my mind
I want the blood bath
the tar-stained fingernails
the gut-black stairwell
I’ve grown too good at defending
It’s too quiet and forgetting
I want to pull out eyelashes
lick the spiny hairs
I’ve already been smattered
I learned to breathe in smoke
find oxygen hung on particles
I want to sink my teeth in
crack the porcelain
kiss the blood from the edge
of his full dark mouth
First published in Camel Saloon.
I learned the names of all my family demons
gave them faces instead of shadowing ache
bottled them in jars of science
labeled, set in rows on the shelf
But the devil,
I sat down for dinnerfed him chicken soup for his soul
He drank for days and months
and now, we live like roommates
share the kitchen and household chores
I am not naive—
I know his claws are sharp
and his teeth still bleed
I sleep now
with only a pen at my bedside
But always leave a light on
in case he feeds on the dark
First published in East Jasmine Review.
In 1984, every girl
wore those jelly shoes.
Glitter plastic in pink
and blue and yellow
seemed so frivolous.
They hurt, they pinched,
gave no heel or arch support,
I wanted them.
Flimsy buckles and basket-
weave spilling toes out,
leaving sharp red grooves
like a map for hours.
I wanted to be that frivolous,
to squeeze the surface of
my nine year old feet, marking me
like every girl.
First published in Like a Girl: the Pre-Show!
We dance under the belly of the elephant
Not the dance-floor dance, but the slow move
around the words we won’t say
Move in and out of her shadow
Her dark cast allows our mouths to press our breath
around it, around the letters lost in open windows
I want you to press me full against elephant legs until
deep grooves of skin catch light
Her skin is your skin and the skin of your children
heavy with memory, pachyderm heavy
She shifts her weight and I wait for you to name her
call her out of decades, twenty-two years
You push off one finger to the other hand but
there it is in simple gold elephant eyes
Will you step out from under her
I cannot lean crouched here
swaying to your resonate voice
to the arch of your teeth
to the groove of your sleeve soft
underneath my fingertips
sliding down corduroy red
First published in velvet-tail.