by Gabrielle Grace Hogan

you girl who lost her virginity
like a dove screaming, with wrung out neck:
i’m sorry there wasn’t more for you
than the sharp dig of hands into milk
& honey thighs. sex is a blood sport
for the young. two boys on the swim team
are wrestling by the country club’s pool.
chlorine is bad for cuts & turns blonde
bruise-green, like knuckles swinging from a
tree, a dead bird buried at the trunk.
they found you, american beauty—
a foal, twisted, purpled & braying—
& wasted no time to slit open
your underbelly & hang you by
your hands. they even thought you liked it.
come, girl, come, taste aubade as fuzzy
peach & do not mourn morning’s bruised fruit.
come, wash your water in rinds, watch steam
settle to lazy worship on tongues
coated with what once was & now can
never be. you wish forever that
you could turn robin’s egg blue like the
insides of the tile; jaw split apart
on the speckled pattern, milk dripping
from their mouths, you on your hands & knees.
innocence in a sense is disease-
ridden horse, galloping toward drowning
in the water where they made you hymn
to a nosebleed. & shit, don’t you know
every story needs its pound of flesh.