claws

when he offers me a cigarette i say
i dont smoke
and take one anyway.
pretty soon i have one tucked
between every finger on both hands –
a dangerous set of claws.

when i am down to the last one,
i pinch it gently between my lips
while unsteady hands work at his
shirt buttons. he leans down
pulls the lit cigarette from my lips
with his teeth and chews.

the tobacco is a dark stain
on his tongue. he says
i didn’t want you
to get smoke in your eyes.

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“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.