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

Mesquite plant

July 2021 Poetry Feature: Burlin Barr

BURLIN BARR
but the wolf tree was there and there was a place where // trophies hung: entire / bodies slung there in semi permanence // turning into everything / imaginable between a fresh body and shit and a variety // of trash; except Otis; he kept his right in front / of the house even

Recife, Brazil

Translation: Poems by Lara Solórzano Damasceno

LARA SOLÓRZANO DAMASCENO
Nosotras, who for millennia have steered warships, / sailing through seas made invisible. / Nosotras, who walked barefoot through valleys of stinging nettle, had our name ripped from the book of history / our biography from the scientific treatises

Ice fishing

June 2021 Poetry Feature

CORRIE WILLIAMSON
You lamented the absence of a human sound for longing, / like the loon has, like the wolf. I think of you reading / to your donkey the day he died, the passage where Odysseus / kisses the soil, how the beast moved away from you, / stood quietly in the clover, then returned...