M Williams

my boyfriend’s slap

I taste stale coins and

wet words;

my lip cracks like blistering sidewalks midsummer.


There’s a country song buzzing

worlds away, low static radio bleeding love songs

while my love song grips

my hair by the roots, keeps me spitting

static pink blood into an industrial sink, sings

baby, won’t you be my summer night?

the slick slide of his tongue hot in my ear,

strong fingers dug in tight like five hungry hyenas.


His hand trails down and down the knobs of my spine,

buried under bruising flesh;

with the stars above us

he croons, yellow light above the stove

flickering erratically, mosquitoes panicking as the glow grows warmer,

the lightbulb straining like my wick is shrinking;

inevitability is a quiet thief.


He is

vanilla stick sick with scalpel bones that slice

into the backs of my thighs,

deserts of skin that stretch a bit too wide for his liking.

I watch

bubblegum blood drip off my chin and down the drain,

he says

baby, won’t you be my summer night?

His calloused palm emerges in front of my face,

clumps of my dark hair loose in stiff fingers, whispers,

baby, everything’ll be alright.


angel’s lament

He says,

you are holy, girl, you hold the wet sun in your red mouth.


I suppress the poems that twitch below my tongue

and kiss blasphemy back into his lips.

His fingers, long and calloused,

run up the spines where my wings would sprout,

black and burning:

Aye, you are blessed. Aye, you are mine.


I touch the crucifix fastened tightly

around his long neck, delicate like a woman’s would be.

I feel it’s weight underneath my skin, golden and lead-footed,

my gilded lover.


He hums Gloria in Excelsis Deo

with my head resting quietly on his shoulder.

I don’t know the words,

but he kisses my chest, flushed skin bruising, a worship of our own;

he traces p r o p h e t with a firm tongue and I question whether

I am to be John or Jezebel today.
I am unsure when he abandons the gaze of God. I

am not a Catholic girl;

I know nothing of confession.

Did he enter, feet fidgeting in tightly knotted sneakers,

and start divulging sin after broken sin? Did he say,

She was fifteen and she begged and pleaded and cried and



my holy girl pinned tightly underneath me,

a Bible on my nightstand and a cross above my bed.


I feel gutted when I return home,

scooped clean and pearl pink.

Peach cobbler

clings to our dirty forks, and I let the hot water numb my hands,

assuring my parents all is well. I want to

curl into the dishwasher,

warm and wet, fresh like the ache of a womb;

I wonder if one day he will lose God completely,

animal blood and instinct bones,

if I will feel my stomach grow and stretch.


I am a blue girl, cobalt and ill in the shadow

of a red hot volcanic man with a rosary clutched firmly in fire poker fingers

and I worry for a child

who does not exist yet, but could,

indigo and wheezing,

little plum mouth torn raw with screams.


My back smarts where

phantom feathers would furl smoothly.

I never asked to be an object of God,

a girl who curves and dances like

triumph. He made me in to a Prophet.

He falsified my


where my screams ring hot and baking in Bethlehem heat,

where the sun is drying,

desert stomach where my unborn son is crying:

Aye, I am haunted. Aye, I’d call him





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