Jessica Smith

A dangerous man raised me, waiting

until I fell asleep to open the windows,

wake me with hail. To prove my loyalty,

I told him the ice felt cool on my skin.

A dangerous man made me

pancakes in the morning. He poured

brandy onto my fingers, recorded me

licking them clean and imitating authority.

A dangerous man threaded coarse rope

through the V of my ribs. He dangled me

from the chandelier, pushed on my small

dirty feet until I spun like a pinwheel.

A dangerous man with his nose on my nose,

(sweet Eskimo kiss, eyelashes on cheeks), his

thumb strumming hard against the chord

of my pulse until I made a sound like singing.

A dangerous man laughed until I did, too,

little scenes my lips reach for like an infant

to a breast: now only his face, now only his hands,

now only his arms, now only his rage,

now only the him in the me—the me dangling still

from the ceiling, the me spinning still like a top,

the me lifting drenched fingers to swollen lips

and biting down hard like my flesh was a peach.

Jessica Smith grew up in Dunwoody, Georgia and later attended George Washington University where she studied Journalism and Creative Writing. She currently lives in Manhattan where she is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at the New School.

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