after Terese Marie Mailhot
let me kill every Good Man
and laugh when i do
autopsy to follow
let me drill down to the buried stone of who they cannot
admit they are
it will not yield water
it will drip
let me say all the Good Men are dead it’s
more oxygen in staff meetings now
young girls walk alone
at night and
laugh from their bellies, sing
in jungle gym voices
to cradled stars
in three generations
let us forget
that dead-eyed look of disgust
Good Men are so good
at giving us
a Good Man is promised the kingdom of heaven
if i am grayer
and honey, if my hands cannot
unbraid from him
hallelujahs, what am I
the unfussiest blow job in silence
I have to leave (let me)
here my valentine
ass my merciless face
his only chess move
thanks to Elaina Ellis and Maisha Manson
The first time I tell someone about my stepfather’s abuse,
it is to ask a priest to forgive me
for being enraged by it.
Rage :: day-old
sweat on unwanted skin, descending
cage. I keep you
in the wings, sing most of the songs without looking
at you. I could be nicer. It is cold, and I think
men are warmer than you – I can’t scare a single one away.
Rage, I look like this:
:: bloodless island
:: soft-cheeked monkey
:: ingles language learner
We were never supposed to partner.
My stepfather’s face
looks like unloved ass: red, stubbled, peeling.
Rage :: chair in the hospital room to throw at his face
:: block of kitchen knives one floor above my bed
:: pimply girl I could not sit with at lunch, you dragged me out of that house party
At a training, the facilitator asks
when our families began treating us like adults.
answers: When I made money. When I got married. Hasn’t happened yet.
my answer: When they became afraid of me.
I :: path cleared by cannonballs
:: bar brawl with wolves
:: Manila lightning, underwater in lighter fluid
On the Intake Application at the Sliding Scale Counseling Clinic,
I Am Asked if I Would Prefer a Therapist of Color
I don’t want to appear high-maintenance,
which I think yes would convey.
I write on the blank: Preferred
but am flexible, given the right fit.
A week later, I learn my therapist’s name
She is wh*te.
She walks into the lobby, her hair in free-
She wears a long, flowy skirt from either a spring break (!) immersion trip
to Tijuana or the fair trade (<3) boutique in Roosevelt Square.
She invites me to read her bio which notes all the time she spent
building houses in Haiti (^ ^).
This is what replaces a person of color.
Kelly (an intern) likes to say she is angry, as if she knows
well enough to be.
I say my mother told me I wasn’t her daughter.
She says, I am so angry for you.
I say my boyfriend raised his voice at me this morning.
I am so angry for you.
I feel so protective of you.
She is here,
should I need someone
to stand up for me.
I tell her, I’m getting anxious. I’m not sure
what we’re accomplishing
She wants me to stay.
Right now each patient is a lesson unit
in her last course before graduation.
I wonder who her other patients are,
if she feels
like she’s found
For seven weeks, every patient I see in the waiting room
with long, straight
hair, fitted jackets,
black boots that
they get replaced
I wonder if I diversify Kelly’s collection.
mother in prison
I wonder if she needs me in her office
like she needed the people of Haiti
in her 2012 travel blog.
I am land, fat with purpose. In her eyes, I am
We might not be a good fit, I say. She does not want me
She says, Conflict is part of therapy!
Being in conflict with her will be useful to my life!
I say, I do not want to pay to argue with you.
What about being angry feels
She asks me,
barring the doorway,
what about being angry at her feels un-
don't I believe she wants the best