9.12 / December 2014

Three Poems

Before Morning

under a streetlamp on the back of my pickup truck with sugar on our
tongues and fucked up fathers between us, you smiled sideways with
that slipping happiness you hide behind your walk

we both know it’s easier to fuck than hold hands when there’s fresh
blood on the asphalt

the murder was years ago, you reminded me

but I still feel the knife in my hand, I said

you sipped the bitter water and took off your hat and right then I
believed in magic and astrology and all the gods because no reality had
ever held my heart with the same care

I am the knife, you said

and I did not argue.

Dead Bird

sidewalk forgotten and flat from too many run-overs, step-overs, stand-
ons and the feathers frayed and the beak crushed and the eyes gone
and the feet embedded and the guts eaten and the skull small and the
wings bent and the form broken

I don’t think we can call it a bird anymore

maybe a once-bird

or a bit of waste


Hey I’m at a party and this guy comes up to me and he’s trying to start a
conversation—you know small talk that is safe and can establish a
rapport so he can convince me he won’t rape me—and so he’s getting
another beer and he says so where are you from because people of a
certain age in this country in a certain city at a certain party are never
from the place where the party is taking place and so I say oh well I’m
from Georgia and he’s like omgosh squeal like a pig amirite and I’m
thinking way to make me think you’re not gonna rape me by
immediately making a dumb rape joke and showing that all you know
about my culture is from a movie you watched a long time ago when
you were hoping to learn something about being a man from Burt
Reynolds but instead of saying that I just say oh yeah it’s totally like that
and he looks at me astonished and is like really and I’m like no not really
and he’s like oh well maybe it is in other places where you didn’t grow
up I mean you don’t even have much of a Southern accent and right
then I want to take his beer and crush it into his face and tell him he’s a
fucktard because I can’t believe he is standing there explaining the
South to me and talking to me about my accent that I learned how to
lose because people treated me like an idiot when I said y’all too strong
but instead of doing anything ugly as my grandmother would say I
just say naw I don’t think so in the strongest Southern accent I can and
then walk away towards someone else who I know at least grew up in
rural Pennsylvania and understands that not everyone from the fly-
overs is an ass-raping inbred

Laura Jean Moore has written for Publisher's Weekly and the Brooklyn Rail, and her most recent fiction can be found in Corium Magazine. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Reed College. She is suspicious of most things.
9.12 / December 2014