you are a thing best pressed flat beneath forgetful slats

do not appear and mock

my bare footed lack of

it wasn’t I who began

to defile myself nor

when they lined up and I nailed myself

it’s not always easy to tell

when the crime begot the criminal

or how the break is sometimes the very thing

you return to again and again

running your fingers down well-worn cracks

here fill it with gold, nay fill it with lead

somewhere on the metallurgic table of


drown yourself with good intention

what is precious? what easily taken?

ladies are primroses, lasting just a season

bright like lipstick worn by a dowdy heart

seeking to alight in redemptive plait

weave yourself back into the story

i did not need to apply salve or solution

to garner night-time attention

it came before I knew its chiselled name

in the fingers and the undone buttons of

pain bottled by shaking hands

they swig their lurching tempers

they stomp their ashen parents

into dust for they are not much

more than living rust

growing barnacles and shame

by the wet pound

and I never knew

what it felt like to be proud

of my purity which hadn’t lasted into summer

nor the taint I grew to shape

into tempting cool drinks

sweating out the last of their

exposure under the scold

of impatient heat

that loss of

honor so definite

a mark on your brow

marring those who look

before ever you speak

a word of truth

none needed against

rude assume, leathery in

age, easier for the judge

to sear a girl for outlasting

their cored and pared

fruiting rage