I turned off. Leaky spout
my mind was. I turned off
and kept the lights on
while I slept. We fucked

like deer in prairie grass:
camouflaged, alarmed.
I was off but couldn’t stop
thinking of the conversation

my brain wasn’t having
with the rest of me. We fucked
in camel color all the way home
to our respective childhood

cul-de-sacs. Your mother
defrosted corn with micro-waves,
mine dragged her feet
across the patio cement

until they bled. We fucked
like the itch inside her
that was trapped
like the girl she knew

whose parents kept cages
for the children. Her skin
in my mind, bothered
daffodil. I fucked

best in mornings
un-perverted by crop tops
and cat calls. Day
innocent yet but creeping

toward abuse, neglect,
what the light filtered. We fucked
where I first turned off
in the room with the faucet

and the vines on the walls.
You cleared the thicket for us
and waited, beautifully,
for the water to run.



Because it only takes one—there were three—they dragged her—by the hair—because
the meadow—unaware and typical—durum-gold—because a horse—rheumatoidal—
I was made from fractals of what no longer exists

—of her original form—because—dimensions of a moment—fall between the integers
of composition—return—as do all self-similar patterns—at the root of earth—because
nature replicates at its highest terror—I wasn’t made from her but what was left over

—because history isn’t a question—of if or when—because—one was a woman—because
summertime—hopping fences—because no year—no age—no numbers or sexes—because
no does not mean yes does not mean no

—because no option—no voice—no witness—the horse so sick—because they would kill—
because a red bicycle—tag you’re it—because poison—no parents—limeade and Twix—
because a house fell down and nobody saw it

RYANN STEVENSON’s poems appear in or are forthcoming from The Adroit Journal, American Letters & Commentary, Blunderbuss Magazine, the Columbia Poetry Review, Linebreak, and Pinwheel Journal. She is the Chapbook Series Editor at Phantom Books and co-curator of Phantom’s Brooklyn-based reading series, EMPIRE.