francine j. harris


love is a rage that never quite slaughters. a murder with no body. a lighthouse sinking
                  invisible ships. a robber with no hands.


a rapist alone.                               love is a room with

                                                                                   no doors, no windows, one chair and a rope.
                                                                  it’s a missing item in a missing

stack. a skin
                                                                  that won’t sink to the bullet. love

                                                                  is too tight.

it breaks.

                                                                       it’s a toilet filled with latex gloves. a burn on the stomach you don’t remember.

                                                                                                     it opens your fly every time. it pees. love





body language.

it pulls your panties down in an unfinished basement. it kisses your eyelid with crap

in its

tooth. love

                             trails off in a long,      


wheeze. it rips your lips in church.

it talks too damn much.


love faints giving blood, but it keeps giving blood. it’s the stranger you let in to use the phone. it purrs at your feet, but it has those claws. it’s the way you feed and the leash you toss.

it scratches in the walls.



“fume” is from allegiance (Wayne State University Press, 2012)