Disobeyed. Sucked the blooded marrow dark, unhooded
its martyr, wildflower effusing with such
headless agency. Stripped blind my one eye, mutable as the dream

before a storm. Cursed the sterile sky. Cursed the rapeseed
that fathered you, unfathered me, cursed myself.
Appraised as a trinket, I gave a cowrie shell away. Sold

first to the adulterer, then hawked to shoeless Adam, peddled
to schoolboys on the country bus. Scratched the demigod
who stole it, dressed as a Judas steer, red moon bellowing. Hot

down my back. Dammed my wet scream around those verbs
for a violence. But I am all teeth. I did not snitch. Went braless
like a bad bitch, horned slick, turned sacral, crotched gold in my wife-

beater and asked for it. Bless my vanity. My charity. How like a parted
urchin she fills and fills with rheum. Made a killing,
like our language, of the woman I had pilloried. What a sight

prized the white man pushing his Mag-Lite into it, a game to see
just where a girl like me could go. So tight he whispered
from beyond the haze, thrusting until she was no longer a part of me,

undone under world, pressed full and unfathomed, pulped raw
as a meathole. O plastic. O raggedy-ann. This is what you wanted.
Ripped button for eyes and yarn for hair; she will not grow nor come

alive. How widening loneliness is a gift again. First opening
greedy on that Christmas bulb, flush, lit-up. Half-angel.
The old ghost, unfondling on his tender threat, will never knock me up.


Photograph © rosko37

Hoa Nguyen | Is Travel Writing Dead?
Eliza Griswold | Is Travel Writing Dead?