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By Megan Burns

Poem

what I do/ bemoan loss/ my betrayal/ what’s good/ never
traveled a land of dead to get me/ would you/ never waded my city
to pull photos from floodwater stained walls/ would you/ never tried
to pull my spine, notch vertebrae notch through back where I’m split/ spit on me/ would you/ never lowered yourself into mud spewing vomit, your lies that bile thick hanging from your chin/ or clawed your eyes out to not see pain you cause me/would you/ never put muzzle back of my head/ but you did/ never pulled trigger sending metal biting through wishes, dreams, nightmares / never put your mouth on mine & sucked out my breath or put it back in/
wouldyou/wouldyou/wouldyou/ never swallowed fistfuls of pages I wrote all you choking down till your rib cage burst filled articles of contrition/ my fucking nouns/ my fucking verbs slurped/ boat me. lover, boat me shore to shore cement blocked/ love me way down to rocky flats of our muddy river where I swirl/ twirl sounds loud bubbling break surface/ my face eaten by shame/ some living/ would you/ never cut me to pieces spread far/ over bridge, down by rocks/ into basin/ interstated/ beach full of fingers & toes/ would you/ would you lick off my fingerprints/ would you/ would you lick off my fingerprints/ would you pull my tongue out to poke that wormy root/ feel it, tip of your tongue/ suckle my eyelids off/ put your fist inside/ me put both fists inside me/ applaud would you would you what’s good/ love me like you mean it/ don’t mean it & leave me here clothed/ meaning it/ leaving me able to walk away/ meanin it/ & I have my wits about me/ I’m still moving/ I’m still sounds & voice & terror/& you mean it/ I mean to be obliterated & you give me love/ love/ what’s good?

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MEGAN BURNS is the publisher at Trembling Pillow Press (tremblingpillowpress.com). She is the co-director of the New Orleans Poetry Festival (nolapoetry.com) and has been hosting the Blood Jet Poetry Reading Series in New Orleans for the last six years. She has been most recently published in Jacket Magazine, Callaloo, New Laurel Review, Dream Pop, and Diagram. Her poetry and prose reviews have been published in Tarpaulin Sky, Gently Read Lit, Big Bridge, and Rain Taxi. She has three books: Memorial + Sight Lines (2008), Sound and Basin (2013) and Commitment (2015) published by Lavender Ink. Her recent chapbooks include: her Twin Peaks chap, Sleepwalk With Me (Horse Less Press, 2016), Beneath the Drift (Red Mare, 2019) and FUCK LOVE: I’m sorry someone hurt you (Shirt Pocket Press, 2019). Her fourth collection, BASIC PROGRAMMING, was published by Lavender Ink in 2018. Her forthcoming collection is called SERAPH.

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