Erica Wright


Not man enough to hold a man like a child
until the morning, I would fight the ache

in arms not built for labor if hard-pressed
by you, near ghost with head upheld by want

and pain-killers, the kind I used to hide
along with the knives. I lied about not minding

blood, and once I called your mother
who said, "Handle it, love." Hung up.

I'll hold you wrong if you must rest in me.
What prize I've won. What ilk. For hooking necks

of bottles with rings—plastic, dirty, bent.
Carnivals stroke the young and the lived-in

couched in country witched with miscarriage.

Doorsteps become you. Silence. Bruises. Fear

I'll let you linger, pathway-bound and blue

like stillborns. These become you.