after Claudia Cortese, Yasmin Belkhyr, and Jeanann Verlee
In my dream, the world is a rowboat. In my dream,
the world is a quarter, sunspit & golden. The rain comes
in swells, a single hurtling fist. Annie doesn’t understand
the glory of a bumblegirl: blushfire, liquid smoke, diamond-
back honey. The basement sucked iodine. I did not get to yell.
Instead, stains on Annie’s hands, red & full, a latent promise
of nervous tongue & sex, except there was no sex & the bruises
were Boy’s way of saying no, then yes, then no again.
Annie calls this the mythology of manhood. Annie calls this
the mythology of entitlement, but I am thinking of necklaces,
bracelets, earrings made of latex. A fingered, toothy grin.
Annie scrubs my thighs: jetstreams, cherry oil, red as the blood
on the bed. Red as the blood in the water.