BY ANNA MEISTER
After Roxane Gay
When my mother’s voice breaks, she says marriage
& it sounds like cage. When the train doesn’t come. I drink
for quiet. When I’m on a rooftop. When I see a bridge.
When I’m expected to beg. When they tell me
my ending isn’t believable. When they say it’s too much
poem, not enough life. When the doctor snaps
his rubber gloves. I’m on my knees. When I become
vessel. When my father spits Bible. When he says
he knows how I want it. When the bees sting.
Smoke is blown in my face. When I’m told I’m better
when I smile. When there’s a hand over my mouth.
When I taste raw honey. When it snows too early,
I smell the school bus. When the air conditioner is busted.
When the light goes purple. When the chlorine stings,
when the whiskey stings. When dishes shatter,
or bones. When I hear about women swallowed by love.
When they call it love. When a bad thing is done
& everyone laughs. When he calls my writing college girl
psycho babble & everyone laughs. There’s blood
under my fingernails. There aren’t any windows.
The handle’s emptied & there’s no ride
home, radio playing that song
with my name. I see a high river, a tower collapsed.