These men. They come hard. Fast
as grains of sand in a windstorm.
Not been myself lately. Been jumping rivers,
collecting knives. Collecting sedatives. Been fishing with my
in the throats of men. Find dead things stashed between their
I opened my shirt. My chest. Opened doors and cabinets,
Opened skin, opened thighs. I’ve said it honest as I know
This is me. This is all. Isn’t much. I am heart and
breath and skin and bleed.
Sometimes tornado, sometimes lullaby. They take, Angel.
They say too much. Words made from lead.
Marriage. Children. Today. Love. Ready. Yes.
Angel, why do they leave?
Been ignored so hard my skin turned to wood.
My tongue is salt. They got me, Angel. Forgotten jewelry in a
Ornaments in boxes. Old trophy in a basement.
Just lay in those sheets, woman.
Just lay quiet. I’ll get to you after you repent. Once you
hate yourself good enough.
(Funny how it doesn’t hurt when you’re the one doing
Even the men we love, Angel. They get busy. Get girls. Get
Get distraction. Get bus. Get plane. Get paid. Get loose. Get
handball. Get tired. Get lost. Get MFA. Get laugh. Get gone.
Angel, when I doused the rafters in kerosene and went in
with the blowtorch, after the corpses were dragged out and
I thought staying right meant staying honest.
Just be truth and you can’t get hurt, right?
Said a girl made of splinters isn’t built for
But they tried, anyway, Angel. They tried. And turns out, I
I can love hard as shrapnel. So hard I melt skin.
There was a night in the sheets – the sheets that once were
another man’s heat and me, a dogpile of convulsion, lurch
I sobbed because he was gone, and that man held me, Angel.
Held me like a father holds rage, arms tight across as
Shuddered like that ’til daybreak. He whispered, I
want this wreckage.
Now, his mouth is full. Gold strands of hair. Got condoms. Got
Got whiskey and football and steak to fry.
He walked me in the rain. Said my skin was perfect as daisy
Talked me off that bridge. Made me laugh, Angel.
Laugh—even when the city and my face were set on fire.
I lay in my sheets. It’s always the sheets. The soak and
stain of old linen.
Lay myself flat, spread myself thin. Flatten hips and breasts,
like a layer of seeping cream. Get thin and thin and thin.
Reach for the edges of the mattress, pray to be thin as
thin as invisible. Thin as never. Angel, it’s so empty
here. Always empty.
Always fighting some man in the street. Always fighting.
No one wants the wreckage, Angel. No one strong enough.
I’m afraid of the river, Angel. Afraid it’s going to
start calling again.
Afraid I’ll wake up tomorrow and my front door will open
onto the entrance of that bridge. I’m afraid of the fish,
How their tails will pull me under. I’m afraid of the
boats, their propellers,
their life vests. I’m afraid of the corpses, all the girls
Afraid of the men, Angel. How they tug at the meat.
How sharp their teeth.