Love Poem in Rural Oklahoma
You say safe like it is something you can build
for me, or around me, but every single sidewalk
is like a mouth here—it wants to swallow & I do not
want to know what is under asphalt-tongue.
Sometimes we talk politics so calmly together
—like this isn’t a matter of life or bloodied teeth.
Like you being found in a bathroom couldn’t be
the last thing, the last straw for some other man—
some stranger with a wide fist/or a gun/or a friend
& I guess this is why we call them red states.
When we are in bed together I lock every door,
every window. You touch me & I melt flight
instincts into our pillows.
Find fight still warm in your mouth.
On Being Fat-Shamed While Out with Your Conventionally Attractive Boyfriend:
waiter brings my sandwich with fries
and hands it to my boyfriend—
is confused when I don’t seem grateful
they’ve swapped me for my date’s salad.
This is just one way of practicing grace,
my mother says—people mostly
mean well and are doing their best
and don’t realize how they sound.
I try to play that game too, like maybe
they were having a really bad day.
But I think this is just a way of practicing
economy—how I quietly switch plates
and wrap half of my sandwich for home
—how we reduce everything to its least
offensive form—how my boyfriend asks
for dressing on the side and I ask for the check.
Fable for Lost Things
the tree outside my house had kittens
and they mewl in the branches
make an animal racket all night
furred throats unfurled toe-leaves
these wild things have no father
arrived orphaned already feral
one of them failed to thrive
and I found her limp body in my yard
eyes a day from opening I imagined the others
watching her burial