(Photo by: Madison Blue)
A MAN ON THE SUBWAY
By Anele Rubin
A man on the subway is wearing a t-shirt
with New York City Mental Institute
stenciled on the front.
For a moment I think it’s real.
Then I realize it’s supposed to be funny.
Ha, ha, asshole, I say.
He is smugly reading his paper.
I am so tired of being sad.
*poem from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
It Can Feel Amazing to Be Targeted By a Narcissist
By Angela Veronica Wong & Amy Lawless
Let’s just see if it fits, and your voice blurred, your hand brushing away mine, me laughing because seriously who says that? I flashed out of my body picturing you saying this to other girls, and laughed again. Those are words that can only be said late at night in an outer borough, while Manhattan glitters in rows of mocking unison from over the bridge. Those are the moments when I think how did I get here followed shortly by okay whatever, like now, sitting in the park, watching couples strolling hand-in-hand. Once I made you cupcakes. In the morning before I left, I arranged them on a plate and left them on your kitchen table. Don’t worry, you weren’t the first one I’ve done that for. I’ll just think of the whole thing as a stretching exercise.
*poem from The Best American Poetry 2013, Scribner Poetry, 2013
By Anne Marie Rooney
It was July. It was my birthday. I
was still drinking then. I went with the men
to a lake with no clothing on. The men
who for a year I’d loved hardly and I
walked to the water. All that love hurt my I-
can’t-say-what. My hands knew nothing but men
that year. In snow I stand out. Every man
I’ve ever seen has seen me back. My eyes
sweat from it. Though from there the summer breaks
off, it felt sharp and bright through the last hour,
like glass fired to grow before it breaks
against its own heat. It’s soft, and then it breaks,
and, seeing itself, shifts light. For our
trouble, we were cold and wet for an hour.
*poem from Spitshine, Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series, 2012
There’s Grass Somewhere,
But I Don’t Know How to Find It
And if I’m wrong, what blue pulse
would darken? For years I went not knowing
why I spoke to water, why my fork stitched lace
over every plate. What thing did you water
to make me love like a socket? I do knit bricks
around my stomach, a stray licking itself sour.
As a child I lived like a crumb beneath the cushion,
now I wear pity like a dinner napkin. There are people
in this room who don’t want me.
I know them.
I must have been a girl someone spoke to—I knew
each word left the mouth. You’re sure I love
for the utility, but show me an oven who doesn’t
love her baker. Believe me. My first love was yellow
gloves my mother wore to wash dishes. Please, I won’t ever
be this young again. My mother still calls to say she made
my bed, each month she airs dust off the linen.
She lasts like breath in a stone lung,
but I could live one day, if or when
I’m ready to.
*poem from Stop Wanting, Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014