by Mark Bibbins, Editor
Dear Mom and Dad,
In the culvert there are the bruised faces of elderberries and actual bruised faces and I have slipped from a limb wet and greased and fallen, hard along my left side. I have, you know, hit a man in the head with a rock when he was still a boy and bent so sickeningly I myself looked away. I have ridden a broken man up the sixty-foot banks, I have looped my bad tail around him. At the top we found some hair and condoms. We found some of your handwriting, or maybe it was boys’. We found her name scratched into the rocks if her name was indeed you sweet bitch. Or maybe, you sweat bitch. You bitch in the scuzzed out camp fire. You bitch seeing things projected over the fat, lank skin of trees. Oh. We bitches. Oh we see certain things. We trace over everything with a charred stick and in the morning and in the morning and in what passes for morning on an overcast day too cold to be an actual summer day, we see that all the tracings are of bodies and all the bodies fashionably contorted around one or the other of us. My long scarf gets caught in the mulberry tree. Mulberry, actually. There’s no such thing as the past, here. There aren’t any old-fashioned recipes, or any ideas about the hymen. We piss into a little china cup with England carved in the bottom. A little bluebell of a cup, tipped up, like so. I am tipped up, cupped, concave in places where there used to be someone — someone used to be in this place. What an empty pretty bag. What a pack of something used to be in there. And a bottle of. And an efficient blade. You cannot blame me for lying about the route we took. We took off our shoes when it got very slick and scuttled into the future. Oh, here we are. Oh, we are only one of us here, it’s getting dark, in the wrong time zone, it snowed today before the sun went down. I talked to your proxies. I talked myself bluing the rain of flies on my forearms as I hitched the screen, as the storm window tipped out in slow motion I saw it falling several stories and then I was on the street, the whole frame threatening to take me to saw, threatening to scratch and dust me. And then it didn’t, so on I walked,
Your Ugly Little,
Dear Mom and Dad,
I might as well ask you. Why does everyone come to my window and then ask me to put on a robe or just fuck off? Why does everyone start a band halfway through the hand job and run out to practice? Or, actually, why does everyone have some kind of car they want me to tumble into head first slightly concussed and laughing throatily all the way to the ravine? Why do all the boys I love climb up on the trestle that runs over the ravine and slink down to its catwalks and hold on infantile, lemur-like with all four limbs while the trains, only freight trains, rumble over? Why, in the ravine, do I never find anything shinier than a beer can and never get anyone out before the cops come? I think I can die and then there we are up against a train and I think, oh, it isn’t that easy after all. But I might as well ask you. Coded all these years as a boydigger, coded as a kissless dogface. They get so disappointed by my mustache. They get so angry when I make a joke or when I change the subject. They ask me if they can dig out all my blackheads. They have a hundred rules about how boring I am. I stay up the latest, you know. Out of all of them and all of you, I’m the last one with her lid laid open, a boiling beetsugar stew predawn premonition boiling over, a nosebleed. Or actually it’s just common sense. You’re going to jail and all of these boys are going to jail and all of these girls are jailed and all of these trains are going to jail, and if the trains even have conductors any longer also jail, and the rest of the town is basically jail and if you get into bed you get into jail and then there’s the morning it’s a penitentiary for you and yours,
Your Ugly Little,
Danielle Pafunda is author of Iatrogenic: Their Testimonies (Noemi Press), My Zorba(Bloof Books), Pretty Young Thing (Soft Skull Press), and the forthcoming Manhater (Dusie Press Books). She’s an assistant professor of gender & women’s studies and English at the University of Wyoming.
For more poetry, visit The Poetry Section’s vast archive. You may contact the editor at email@example.com.