For My Mother’s Generation, Who Couldn’t Tell Their Friends How It Felt To Fold Their Body Into Another’s


I. Tuesday Nights, Minneapolis

That night, he paints my black all red.
Sucks on my bones like they are sugar.
Gnaws on my neck, peels off my layers.
His belt hits the floor hard.
I taste the metal on his hands.

I ask him, “Which do you think is ruder?
When someone says you’ve met them before,
And you don’t remember, is it worse to pretend and
gush all over them, or just say you don’t know them, sorry.”

I always pretend because I’m a chicken.
Afraid to offend, to bite where I shouldn’t.
My hands are dirty, didn’t you know?

II. Hens in the Henhouse

Women in the fitting room can be so predictable.
Always picking and choosing and rooting through racks for the
least flattering things they can find, then
bundling them up like so much kindling on the floor, inside out.

Did your mother teach you to keep house like that?

Or they prance and preen in front of mirrors, pursing their lips,
trying to erase
all the lumps and bumps under their clothes.
Bad underwear does that to you.

I hang them back up, reeking of someone else’s

Now a girl is splitting the heavy red drapes and
she’s wearing my dress, I sold it
when my boobs got too big. It fits her better
than it ever fit me

and I am jealous now,
thinking of the Instagram she’ll post in it, my dress.

She pays the $100
resale price and leaves with my dress.
I wrapped it with extra care hoping she’ll give it

the life I never did. Tied it all up in a bow with all my best intentions, sending it
away, smiling.

The feathers will bob and flirt from her shoulders over a
red cup of beer at some frat formal.
Rending her enchanting.

III. Coven, A Love Story

He can’t sleep because my phone
won’t shut up. It bleeps and buzzes,

Nora in her panties,

Megan working through the mechanics
of love from coast to coast,
plane to landing.

My mom’s generation of girls couldn’t
communicate the way we do.
She couldn’t type out how dry her pussy was
or tell her friends how it felt to fold her body into another
in a car in the rain
unless they were gathered around the pinochle table.

I tell them my secrets from wherever I am.
The gas pump, the kitchen floor, a curious boyfriend wondering what I’m saying.
Wanting access to all my bleeding, strong and sorry parts.
Not yet, I tell him. This part isn’t for

We file our nails into claws,
ready for it.

My mother’s generation didn’t get to fuck around.
Marrying young, a life that began once she wore a diamond.

That diamond keeps increasing every year,
a tweak here or a tweak there,
as she prods me to tell her all my stories.
I can’t bring myself to tell her no.
I’m a little blonde clam, resisting.
I’m her daughter.
I’m not her friend.

And even so.

We sharpen knives, slicing tomatoes and playing with hearts.
Sores both oozing and closed, or almost.
We spread it all out on toast and feed it to each other,
all of us hungry,
cheeping away on our phones,
making a life that feels like home,
a life that can hold our thirsty desire and anxious hope all at once,
a big, open house
with a foundation of little blue messages.

IV. For Alexandria Up in the Sky

Tally up every boy you’ve ever loved.
A notch up your arm in flicks of eyeliner,
Girls count too.

I won’t tell.

Spit out the words like they’re sour,
Think about that fake Marilyn Monroe quote
the one stupid girls cling to that goes,
“Remember everything you did was exactly what you wanted.”
They want to believe it so much
They even post it to their Instagram
and collect the hearts in validation.

But it’s not wrong.
If the source weren’t so erroneous, I’d
probably take it to down too.

Spit it out and then suck it all back in – that’s my
prescription, one you don’t have to fill.
Soak up the sorrow but sweep its shadow from your bed.
It’s still too warm to sleep with sadness’s thick and heavy blanket.

Sometimes a heartbreak is the
best diet secret.

They try to bash out the magic in
little girls like you.
They resent you for cobbling together your dreams in a
thrift store.
Elementary schools packing away the paintbrushes, pulling blinds over the Windows.

Sledgehammers, all of them.

You can’t make a man into a prince.
You can’t attach his perfect limbs.
Like children, they must be told to do it themselves.
Or they’ll never learn.

I don’t think they ever learn anyway.

Pack up your little bag and make a list.
It can be long. It can be a Post It.
And count out all of the ways
You’re already the man you wanted him to be.

Smile contentedly from the jump seat.

Because you’ve got the silver, the big and bright, right under your skin.

A world that needs
your singular little sparkle
is the best world of all.