Mary, with Swag

By ERICA DAWSON

I deserve a steed for this. This ride. The sex
that didn’t need bodies. No straining hip
craned nearly out its socket. Not one flex.
Seduction.

There’s a way to lick your lip
without moving your tongue. You have to get
down on your knees. Your hands will get dirty.
The rain on April grass is warm. Just let
it flick you.
I am only half of thirty
but my body had its way with me, much less
violent than you would think. A kind of shame.

Was there a change? Was I branded a new
woman? Was I a woman yet? Although I chew
myrrh now, the resin hot, I hold my stress
in both my shoulders. That, too, stayed the same.

 

[Purchase Issue 12 here.]

Erica Dawson is the author of two collections: The Small Blades Hurt, winner of the 2016 Poets’ Prize, and Big-Eyed Afraid, winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Prize. She is an associate professor of English and Writing at the University of Tampa, and director of UT’s low-residency MFA program in creative writing.

Mary, with Swag

Related Posts

Matthew Lippman

Was to Get It

MATTHEW LIPPMAN
I tried to get in touch with my inner knowledge. / Turns out I have no inner knowledge. / I used to think I did. / Could sit on a rock contemplating the frog, the river, the rotisserie chicken / and know that everything is connected to everything else.

half burned cigarette on an ashtray

Avenue B

KEVIN HAUTIGAN
If you ever want to feel real, / even important, / cry on the street. / Sob. Heave. Bum a half-smoked cigarette. / Drunks rally around your wet eyes: / A woman brings a paper cup of soft serve. / A man in a floral shirt puts his hand on your shoulder.

picture of dog laying on the ground, taken by bfishadow in flickr

Call and Response

TREY MOODY
My grandmother likes to tell me dogs / understand everything you say, they just can’t / say anything back. We’re eating spaghetti / while I visit from far away. My grandmother / just turned ninety-four and tells me dogs / understand everything you say...