(Day 10)

there are things i could not have anticipated
when i signed on for a stint as editor at a
wisconsin based literary magazine.

who would have thought i’d get tired of reading
poems written from the perspective
of Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother.


Almost Rape

My professor is standing behind the microphone
reading a poem about a woman he almost raped,
16 years ago with gravely knees, chest slick with rum –
his body has never looked smaller:
shoulders caving toward knock-kneed stance
each vertebrae bending where it shouldn’t
every time he mouths the words,
“Fuck her. Fuck her now.”
He calls the woman he almost raped Lily,
although I know that’s not her name I think
of crushed flower petals on the bottom of the bathtub,
crushed pills rising to meet the blood-brain barrier,
crushed white girls from small, violent towns in Maine.
He says they were standing around her in a circle, shoes
spitting asphalt to fill the holes in her
arms and memory, he will remember them saying
“Do it. C’mon. Fuck her” because she looks small
and pidgeon-toed and can be held down
between tongue and forefinger –
her mouth is white with teeth or foam.

Christmas spirit

The stringed lights snake their way up
the double jointed trees

their branches like arthritic fingers
hardening against the lake-wind.

bony college girls examine bags
of kale chips inside the market wallowing

in cheer, bruises of gold and green
doesn’t help the bad lighting.

I’m on the corner of University and Frances
trying to remember enough

physics from the class I dropped freshman year
to calculate the impact force

of a black sedan going 35 mph
against a stationary object weighing 151.3 pounds.