The weight of a gun under my
arm and against my bare skin
would probably feel clumsy
first and safe second, the
gray metal would be cold
first and melt in to me sl-
I kiss like a pistol: quickly, afraid you will fire.
Daringly, red-lipped and grinning,
I pray roulette with your
mouth and come away shot
full of the giddy feeling
that lives on top of my stomach.
It grabs my ribs sometimes and rattles.
The ghosts in the attic are praying for you.
rolling up their cheesecloth sleeves and fingering the
I hear them moaning at night and I tuck
my gun under my pillow,
pulling the trigger at my temples
for practice when it is set on safety,
hoping to scare
myself more than the ghosts can, hoping to
care about my life more than
A vertical slit along each fingertip bleeds and bleeds
ten times over a paper cut. I have been reading your books
again and again and
stapling in my new ending.
The length of pipe under a taxi cab seat to keep
the driver safe from mugging is what I want. I’ll
start keeping a knife under my left breast to save
my heart safe from you. I finger the tip sometimes,
and I cut open my fingers,
but the blade is still
sharp and I can take it and
the blood can be ink if I need it.
Backwards sloping up my shins, lapping at my knees and turning inside out and vomiting my skin and suddenly being right again, all right again, alright already.
I’ve given up on feeling safe, so I pretend I always do.
I link arms
with my friends and run
freely and screaming across
six lanes of
traffic during Sunday
brunch hour. I think to
myself that I owe me
at least one cup of tea in the shade, a bullet
at my side and a gun warm in my armpit,
reading a book that lulls me in to something gray enough to nap in.
Don’t think that I can take anything
well, but dish it out to me anyway. If you try
to protect me
I’ll never forgive you, I’ll never forget you,
I’ll never remember what made me so mad.