Exhibit A

We were locked out of the gate
but we didn’t mind, and settled
for our mediocre jobs and childless
houses. Our wombs were not empty
so much as inaccessible, a sign hung
on the outside that read NO ENTRANCE
like a section of the museum they had
been renovating. People come and peek
past the red velvet rope, wondering
when the new exhibit would open,
not knowing the museum director
had already fled, saddled up her horse
and rode herself off into the sunset,
grinning as she flew past the crows.

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envy (for my mother)

she puts a needle-sharp word to my tendon
and my wrist twitches. a few carefully aimed
stabs and i am moving not of my own accord.
she knows how to throw the acid of guilt over
my musculature to make me do what she wants,
how to twist bone just to the point of snapping
how to make me smile and nod, smile and nod
how, at this point, i yearn for strings,
just because it wouldn’t be so painful.

unspeakable poems, iii.

i read the same forty books over and over

you didn’t understand how i could get so mired
in words, a fossilized sentence, an endgame
to a paragraph, complete unto itself.

sometimes i laughed and spit out a used word
used wrong, the same way i twist in my perdition,
all alone.

what i wanted were coals to walk on,
the edge of a pier to stand on,
empty air to try and reach across
to touch your face

some way to show you
how much i loved you

but

of baby’s breath, i want only the flower