I like to make faces at drivers in the lane next to me

When I was younger
my friends and I tried to get drivers to flip us off
when we were on the school bus

but that got too easy
as they took my smiles and stares
as invitations to climb into my car
and fuck my irises
with their own

so I’ve started twisting my upper lip
as if it were a circus contortionist
and lower my left eyebrow
when when I stop at streetlights

What Our Mothers Told Us

(1)

We were told to fuck out way through barbed wire fences

To spread our legs on the cold cafeteria tables at noon and midnight, placing our heels in plates of mashed potatoes and corn kernels

To pull our buttocks apart with freshly washed hands that smell of Jasmine soap

To present our vulvas, wet and weeping, as sacrifice in between the dented bars of our cells

To pinch our labia with plastic hair clips and metal bobby pins, attach them to the outer skin and reveal the pink within

To cut our clitoris from our bodies with shards of broken dirty glass and sell them at the swap market on Saturdays for two quarters and a kiss

To mummify our hymens in the museums we’ve founded in the cupboards under the bathroom sink next to the used tampons, failed pregnancy tests, and the worn scraps of high school love notes

For the men who demand a toll for the air and the space we take

For the blouses, jeans, and skirts we use to hide our breasts and thighs from the mirrored walls that surround us

Because we are too afraid of how ashamed our reflections would be of the prices we’ve paid

For the foundation, blush, and eye shadow we’ve worn to cover the continent shaped bruises on our cheekbones and the island ones on our hips from the prison camps we escaped

For the bracelets we’ve worn to cover the marks of the handcuffs they put us in when they captured us a second time

When they took us back to the barbed wire fences and told us to start the fucking all over

again

I have the worst luck with automatic toilets

I don’t always think of you when I’m sitting on the toilet,
but today, my fingers missed having your hair wrapped around them,
and my lips missed the skin of your forehead,

and I suddenly wanted to make you
roses out of toilet paper,

but when I leaned forward
the toilet flushed
and I forgot.

The Diagnosis

You are now a three-legged dog
and incapable of speaking English

You are the wounded animal
laying on the side of the road
with three crushed ribs
struggling to breathe

You are the pet in the pound
who is being put down
tomorrow at noon

You are the one they
left in a cardboard box
in a damp alleyway off Main Street
because they couldn’t stand
to look at you.

I farted in front of my crush last night

Can I wrap my body in duct tape
closing all orifices,
so that no sound will escape

no I love you’s
or I think you’re so hot

so that no smell,
BO or otherwise,
will assault her nose

so that I can paint
a new face on the tape
to replace my own,
one so beautiful
with delicate high cheekbones
and a pair of full lips

the kind I’ve seen on tv screens
and in magazines?

He Killed All But Two of His Wives

Henry the Eighth cut off her head

her head

her head

her head

her head

and her head

Henry the Eight plunged a knife in her chest

her chest

her chest

her chest

her chest

and her chest

Henry the Eighth bought her a lace brassier and made her undress in front of the court

in front of the court

in front of the court

The courtiers touched her

touched her

and touched her

pressing their fingers into her

pressing their cocks into her

pressing their entire selves into her,

fitting themselves into her skin,

and their noses and feet into her own

as the brassier watched from the tile floor,

weeping into its lace and trying to hide its face

until Henry the Eighth cut off her head

her head

her head

her head

her head

her head

Mourning_Dove_n10-12-021_l_1

A Footnote to Holiness

I saw a dove today
and I stared at her for hours,
memorizing her holy form
and I began to scream,
clawing at my throat,
pulling out my vocal cords
one by one,
wrapping them around my clenched fist,

Holy! Holy! Holy!

my brain dripping out my nose,
pink phlem pooling in the gap between my gum and lip,
mixing with spittle and sweat as I screamed

The world is holy! The soul is holy!
The nose is holy! The skin is holy!
The tongue, the clit, and the hand are holy!

The dove stepped forward,
pecking at my bare toes
her beak piercing my skin

Everything is holy! Everyone is holy!
Everywhere is holy!

I told her
as blood dripped
from the vocal cords
I’d tied around my fingers

She pecked at my feet again
devouring my ankles
so that she could regurgitate it
into the throat of the immaculate child
she had conceived,
the child she had named
Moloch.

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