The reason I have a feather tattooed on my wrist
is because my right arm
thinks it can fly.
My left foot has to talk it back down
These hours are the ones spent waiting for darkness
to steal us from the day, as though
we’re waiting for anything more
than another chance to wake up again,
to fix what was done wrong, repeat
what was done right.
When I think of you, it is of the way your hand
feels clenched around my throat,
how your lips purse and separate
when you sigh. It is not the awkward
silence as we dress; there is nothing left to say
that hasn’t already been asked for and given.
If I wanted to wake in your arms, it would only be
to do this dance again come morning.
Scars do not need to be explained
when we undress, wandering eyes
will migrate down to them eventually.
You say I can have whatever I want, but what I want
is for you to not see my two children flash
before your eyes the second I put this shirt back on.
I want you to see me still,
the milk of my skin waiting for your open mouth to swallow it,
the hollow of my hips
longing to be pulled in.
- A. Mathews
I buy coffee from a man I slept with anonymously once.
Neither of us says anything, but I remember his suspenders,
the crisp button down shirt. So dressed
for an evening I was so undressed for.
I read Ruefle and run by the river. Sometimes,
I find a gray hair amidst the red and spend
hours coming up with reasons for its arrival
other than age.
I own two pairs of glasses for different reasons,
ache to hear my name spoken
over the phone quietly, ask to repeat it until he is tired
and says goodnight. I believe all lips are worth kissing once.
I believe you can love someone you’ve never met
yet feel lonely in a crowd. As a child I hated our chickens
chased them from the yard,
all these broken birds who couldn’t fly.
I still blame them for never growing
When asked why I disappear so often, I explain that distance
is a worthwhile investment.
When loneliness nests,
I sweep the corners clean of pleading
and stitch more feathers to my useless
— from Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey