(Day 16)

the day after is seeing the world
from behind closed jaws,
vision limited to the slivers of lamplight
viewed as dental failures.
wanting to touch the wrist of every boy
who passes within arm’s reach –
unbuckle their wrong wound watches and
take crayon to vein, a waxy masterpiece.

the day after is scrolling through screens
of adoptable dogs searching for hair not fur,
need not want. listening to the girl
at the coffeehouse talk about ways she finds god
and later, the way a boy in her dorm found
his way into her bed.

the day after is listening when i should not be.
she is talking now about her father, the sin of
drunkenness he hides beneath his belt, in the bottom
of his morning coffee, under her mother’s skin.

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(DAY 14)

I open myself up, a bathtub autopsy
to inspect the evidence:

stomach lining eaten by diet soda, hard
lemonade, coffee before breakfast.

spleen with evidence of past swelling, kissing
disease in seventh grade summer stretched,
sent it peeking out below a well rounded ribcage.

lungs tar’d and feather’d with sticky pipe puffs,
bits of watermelon seeds accidentally inhaled.
the melon vine i waited for months to
spill between gapped teeth.

small intestines littered with gum balls,
pharmaceuticals kept first between mattress and floor.

(Currently unfinished. Just not sure how to finish it yet.) 

(Day 13)

teach me to peel mango with my hands.
do you pull the skin from freshly pitted flesh
like you’d part a girl’s knees?
do you dig your fingers into the meat
like you’d make crescents in her cheeks
if she got too loud? do you squeeze
the fruit soft ’til splitting,
the way you tug and squish every soft part of her
until she, too, splits? you are left
with mush mangled in your palm.
do you know how to suck at the fibrous insides
pulling fruit from pit, girl from woman?
do you know where to leave the seed
when you have eaten everything else?

(Day 12): Professor

suit jacket pulled across his shoulders every day
since he turned 12, chalk smoothed arms
white against dark tweed, the smell of resale shops.

phone to ear with the life insurance agent,
she questions his propensity for risk taking:
do you regularly engage in activities like
surfing, down hill skiing, skydiving?
the sweat gathers in puddles where skin meets collar,
muscles in his thighs spasm so strongly
he is forced into sitting.

layers to keep out Wisconsin winter, stiff wools
to keep his back straight.
he uses words like emotional-
ly unhealthy and philosopher
and father
to describe his outline on asphalt.

(Day 11): Thoughts when the boy next to me has better nails

i cannot pull my fingers from my mouth.
they taste like oranges, wool thread, rust.

his are rounded like the print of wetness
ocean makes on sand, painted metal blue.

i cannot criticize how his boy hands handle
the can of cold coffee. i imagine his cuticles

taste of saltlick. like the cow in midwestern summer
I am tethered by my tongue.