You firestar. Pool of moonburst.
You turned my skin to dust. Rawblade glasstooth girl.
With your hot rage and bus ticket anywhere.
Never saw a woman run so many directions at once.
One night, you shined so bright the police came to watch.
Your bruises and shirt-shreds. How we all just stood there,
watching you shimmer. Afraid to flinch, for a faceful of claw.
You are some kind of firework. Flipswitch blues.
Broken Sundays spent towing the boulders out of you.
The Brooklyn 3am’s, frenzied as an upturned autobahn.
Your porchlamp laughter. The clack and sweep and throb.
The buttered slick of you. Your sweat-bead banshee pitch.
Mother warned me. Said your sugar was a ruse. Bait.
(As if madness is calculated.) I am the cruelest kind of lover.
A coward. Afraid of the thing most dazzling.
I wished the bleak into my own blood. Prayed a flock of rotten notes.
Some afternoons, I wander through your photographs. Letters.
Wonder if the river won your war.



Originally published at Anti- and appears in Verlee’s second book, Said the Manic to the Muse.

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JEANANN VERLEE is author of Said the Manic to the Muse and award-winning Racing Hummingbirds. She has been awarded the Third Coast Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, and her work appears in failbetter, Adroit, Rattle, and BuzzFeed, among others. She has worked as poetry editor for Union Station Magazine, For Some Time Now, and Winter Tangerine Review: Fragments of Persephone. For eight years, Verlee served as director of the Urbana Poetry Slam reading series, where she also acted as writing and performance coach. She has performed and facilitated workshops at schools, theatres, libraries, bookstores, and dive bars across North America. Verlee wears polka dots and kisses Rottweilers. She believes in you. Find her at

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