7.06 / June 2012

Four Poems

Victoria’s Secret Says: Be A Summer Bombshell

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Take your paper dolls swimming and drown
every last one. Spend a week bleeding
and two sucking on metal keys.
Spread your painted toes
across the dashboard of his car.
Scale metal gates that pinch your armpits
like alligator teeth. Turn
your skin into a slip and slide.
Someone is weather stripping the house,
someone is painting over the wood. Sleep in, suck
the air out of the Grand Canyon.
Smooth your private parts into a tight sheet.
Peel back the myelin sheaths
of your nerves like the soft hull of a banana.
Let your breasts ripen in the sun,
like the ovaries of flowering trees.
Follow the trash, the dead and abandoned,
to the top of Mount Everest.
There, you can see everything.
There, your lungs will fill like mylar balloons.
There, you won’t need heels to hold you up.

Victoria’s Secret Asks: What Kind of Angel Are You?

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My father is an endless garbage man
who never sleeps. I kneel on rice.
When I come to him in tears, he says,
We are meant to suffer in this world.
He has given birth to an orchestra of daughters.
Trumpets of starlight and clarinets made of candy bars.

At night, my father sings of a sandman
who will make my dreams come true. His voice
is a white sail that carries me across the sea.
He says, Even sadness is a blemish. Sling back straps
rub my heels raw. We swim in hotel pools
when no one is watching. My father’s hand
pushes me under the water until my knees scrape
against the cement. I am the seventh pin
in a seven-ten split, still sucking it in.

When I tell my father, I am better,
he believes I am healed. My father forgets
what it was like growing up. He is afraid
to touch me, my hot skin shaved and sanded.
I bathe in powdered milk and prayer, stripped
of cilia, still waiting to earn my weight in wings.

Victoria’s Secret Asks: Have You Found the Body for You?

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I am the thrusting tongue pushing your teeth
to separate poles. Sunflowers grow out of my hair.
Crows peck my seeds. My scalp bleeds.
My spine is a bedazzled rope. My vertebrae
are the glittering hinges on an overlocked door.

I am the fledgling covered in frost,
long oversleeping the nest. I am the girl
you were always afraid to say hi to,
the girl who spent years waiting
for you to say hi, who kisses you
when you aren’t looking. I am the hunter
field dressing myself behind a tree,
removing heart, liver, and lungs to make room
for heirloom tomatoes and ovaries. My windpipe
is a chime hanging from a naked limb.
My intestines loop around lush evergreens,
a garland of Christmas lights. My gullet
is the threaded muzzle of a long range rifle.

My eyes are cut glass, locked into the steel
lattice of stained windows. My stare slices men
in half. My snub collapses great organs
anchored into the walls of cathedrals.
Sound falls like seabirds plunging for fish.
It catches the petals of glass flowers and shatters
into the glittering calcite of sidewalks.
At the end of the parade, there is no one
to take my elbow, no one to say,
Your scapulae are scalene triangles, irregular and irresistible.

Victoria’s Secret Shouts: We Love Every Body!

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Your body is an airport gift shop that makes me miss
my flight. You drove six hours through the night
to celebrate Thursday and showed up in a party hat,
a paper cone secured behind your ears with a staple
and a rubberband. There is a crucifix over every doorway
in your home. You clip your nails all over the house
leaving flecks in every room. You exit like a molting snake.
I pushed you into a mall fountain. You scraped pennies
from the dirty tiles and pelted them at my teeth.
When you were finished, You screamed, “I broke a nail.”
My hollow mouth said nothing. You put your hand inside me,
your fingers and thumb pressed together like a bud
blooming down my throat, a creeping vine choking sound.
You are an irresistible weed. Your heart is a red barn,
dutch doors let the air flow freely through the top.
The bottom is always locked. The center of attention,
in photographs, you were always in the middle.
Cutting you out of my life meant bisecting history
into uneven halves, like the rattle of an unbalanced load
that only needs to be opened, rearranged and set to spin again.

I earned an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, where I received the Sparks Fellowship. My work appears or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Gargoyle, Witness, Harpur Palate, Iron Horse Literary Review, and 30 under 30. I am currently enrolled in Florida State’s PhD program in Creative Writing.
7.06 / June 2012