personal question

from the other side of the fire he says,
can i ask you a really personal question?
i nod like shaking a can of soup.

he asks about my mother’s dead babies, why
she kept giving birth to bits of bone and ear
and whether my insides could glue together
something whole.

he defends himself against my unspeaking:
maybe I shouldn’t care about this but
maybe I just want to know what I am
getting myself into.

I want to reach up, pull out a handful
of uterus: is this what you are getting
yourself into?

next time I suck on his fingers I think
of my mother heavy with child full of holes.
next time I am bleeding, I imagine the
beginning of bodies in every clot
suspended in toilet water.

he says: I didn’t mean to upset you.
I kiss him like a watermelon hitting pavement:
wet red flesh on concrete.



how work kills you

his smile rate dwindles to two per hour.
mouth like a hyphen, he won’t open his
lips to kiss me. he is like this sometimes:
a fruit fly drowning in peach juice, a bottle with a letter
that won’t bite. i try to entice him into leaving
teeth marks, something they will use as a match
for the dental records. he grabs my ass and nudges
me out the door.


we kiss by the fire until he pushes me back
into the grating and red welts rise like cross
stitches on the back of my calves. we unzip
the tent and my legs touch the sleeping bags –
I try not to yelp. when he burrows inside me
with his hands, I make sounds but let him dig.
sometimes the digging helps make him calm.
he makes me a den while my insides pile up
beside us.


it is too hot to sleep or fuck.
we flip our bodies
and toss ourselves across the futon,
a fever fit – our brains and ankles swell
and soften like rice.
i take a drink of water and feel
guilty – dribble the liquid over him,
let it pool in the backs of his knees.
he says he is grateful, that i am good
at doing whatever it is we are doing.
when he takes a drink from the small
glass, i wait for the water to hit, to form
tributaries on my stretch marked thighs.
i hear him swallow.

Little poems (about sex?)

it is too early for sleeping.
i bump my body into his
however i can. rub lotion-
slick legs against the sheets.
leave them dark and greasy.


i told him to pull my hair:
wanted a fist full of me yanked
down my back like a zipper.
but he tugs loosely at the ends,
trying to un-knit yarn.
i do not come undone so gently.