You wrap my ribs in gauze—
an experiment with the word tenderly
after your hands left my throat too bruised to speak.
While winter sun squints at the ghost flower
dying in its shabby terra cotta
far from home
men tell me to be honest about my role in the incident:
I should have stayed inside
while you railed from the sidewalk
but my confused heart got into the car.
What happened is
I once spent too much time in the desert
so pogonip seems glamorous hung stuck in the trees
like when blood dries on skin
and I want to wear it
out for an evening,
pat my hands over its kinky path down my face
because: f*** you,
you didn’t find me here.
I brought you here.
From Landscape with Sex and Violence (YesYes Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Lynn Melnick. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 23, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
still as a scar through the screen's glow : perhaps this is the origin
of my obsession with the color white : searching to name this shade
color like bitten bed sheets : color like a failed dove : or split lip
when red has ceased howling its way to the surface : perhaps the color
of fog over the river bed that morning : or the color of concrete
that bleach & blood leave behind : it hangs around her like the word
faggot in the air of the locked bedroom : like drying hemorrhage suspended
between skin & cotton : sideways on the bathroom floor : it hangs around
her like a name : that once belonged only to me : & i think maybe
most of all i am jealous : for any metaphor i can put to it : the dress
is still beautiful : pale & soft & pure : & isn't this just like my poems?
dressing a violence in something pretty & telling it to dance?
Originally published in BOAAT. Copyright © 2018 by torrin a. greathouse. Used with the permission of the author.