camping

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.

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moving in

when the first gray hairs sprout from his temple,
slightly thicker than spider silk but
thinner than cracked glass,
I lick my thumbs and smooth them,
trying to fill again with red earth color,
fissures in drying clay.

when he starts to sleep on the far side of the bed,
folded knees pressed against the doorframe
I start eating six meals a day.
if he gives me this much space,
he must want me
to find some way to fill it.

when he turns a fist on the set table,
rolls wrapped in creased napkin, puddled butter,
he yells because the salt is white,
not pink himalayan rock crystals.
we eat the pork with pepper and thyme instead.
later, i rub the skin of my cheek over the fine side
of the cheese grater. our little salt shaker
fills with pink.

not quite panic

it is like sandpaper on wrists, like
finding a small dead thing
on your body and knowing
it has to stay.

it is like molars grinding insulation, like
the cardboard part of the toilet
paper roll found its way into the throat.

it is like digesting lightbulbs, like
threads wrapped around intestine –
pulled tight enough, thin string cuts
almost anything.

“poem journals”

I’m in a poetry workshop this semester (likely my final poetry workshop of my undergrad life *gasp*) that requires daily “poem journals.” These can be really short/barely poems/basically whatever – just something to get the brain whirring. So there might be a lot of those on here this semester. Here are two from the last couple days:

i grab two small handfuls of stomach, pull
in opposite directions. a set of ribs rises,
sharpens against the air. Palms full of hips, low
back, pinches of thigh – tug it all tight over bone,
bare the ridge lines, peaks. i cannot bring myself
to wish for less – it is easier instead to wish
for more hands.

***

i wear headphones that cover the entire ear,
look expensive enough to be soundproofed.

they are broken, have never blocked out anything.
i keep them plugged in and sometimes i nod my head
in rhythm with something i don’t hear.

i stand close to couples waiting at the crosswalk,
pick the seat at the coffee shop next to friends
whose bodies form a triangle over tabletop.

i suck sounds through the cheap padding,
imagining my ears covered with their open mouths.

tools for cleaning

i grab the dog’s front paws, lift
him half off the kitchen tile.
we dance to chicken spitting on the burner
and norah jones curling from speakers
like mist. the song ends and the dog’s patience
along with it. he returns to vacuuming
the floor with his mouth. my mouth
has never worked well as a tool for cleaning.
i keep dancing in the silence
between tracks. the album toys with my body
like a wicked lover. the chicken burns.