Put my body down, I am drought girl/limp-boned boy,
bereft, broken roses—shakedown,
soft shutter & smattering, melted—plastic toy,
Not Helen, nor sinking ship earmarked for Troy,
watching myself sleep, breathing—the only sound,
wondering if all this life not lived, is some sour decoy,
Miniscule nibbles of tiny white lies, pretended joy,
I slow-motion rumble through drives, in town—
Though the grief swells, swallows, enjoying
the simplest of wounds, knowing not of being coy,
it groans, climbs & globs, its suffering astounds,
bones splinter & perspire, it feeds—destroys
anything good in its path, devours & exploits,
pain is not a spectacle, rarely is it profound,
yet, something in my throat wants to become my voice,
no sob, no crow to pluck out sorrowful eyes, by choice—
I lack enough will to shatter, willingness to break down,
it weaves, crusts & burns, leaving little to joy,
it scours & scrapes, eats me alive, drought girl/limp-boned boy.
I’m summered & swelter & cognitive meat, sugar my wounds,
say, Bitter me, bitter you, twist my bones into a bowl of raw, pink salt.
Piss & vinegar & honey, sap clings to the eaves of our mouths,
listen to the corrosion in our avalanche of almost caresses.
Burnished & biting, we bristle commotion in the eaves of our mouths,
my clothes chafing & lips chapped & cheap thrills, spend me like
the bubble wrap princesses played on T.V., cheerful & carved clean
in cratered flesh, but I am lucky this way, loved with every bit of callous,
every saccharine & high fructose corn syrup sugaring of my wounds,
courage hunted down & low & it whimpers in the dark.
Soft, you’re soft, hands & mouth & maybe not your will, but you, are soft. I mutter
and walk away; elastic, expanding & hoarse, always compromising.
Jennifer E. Hudgens has been a non-binary poet in Oklahoma City since 1978. Jennifer is currently attending Oklahoma State University for an MFA in poetry, is editorial assistant at Cimarron Review & assistant poetry editor at Petrichor. Jennifer likes to find new ways to write poems about road kill & witchcraft, inserting well-timed fart jokes into casual conversation, & constantly pondering on whether or not the dead watch us shower.