Because I do not want to report
on the genders of us, let’s call us
birds, or fish. Or you a stone and me

the ivy wound around it. In the alley
where I was afraid, your hand
a tree in which my wren body

nested. Settled. We were in season
and I didn’t know it until you entered
the bar, the room, landed

as out of some sky where we’d met
in other bodies, other seasons.
Did you know? Amid all the noise

and agitated light, it seemed you came
only for me, landed like a marble
in the slot carved for it, coming

to rest. Most bodies
do not haunt me, but slip
like minnows into the weedy

shallows. I still look for you
in the lobbies of buildings
where you would not be, in a city

you’ve never visited in this
body. In the dark hallway
where we breathed like one ravenous

primordial two-mouthed being,
I watched, amazed, my taproot
feet sink themselves into the clay

and damp of this becoming, this odd,
bright season of molt and rising.

extinction (open letter to the woman with whom I am not sleeping who is taking her
sweet time moving out of the house she shares with her ex-girlfriend)

I understand. we are not a yank-the-band-aid-off
let-it-bleed kind of people. Lesbians. For now

I am happy merely holding your hand. Taking you
as an exercise in patience. It’s good practice.

But I’m a creature of impulse and you’ve got
competition. This body houses a menagerie

of fast animals, cheetahs and quarter
horses, greyhounds and horned

wildebeests, all bucking
to run. I’ve got the reins

in hand but I’m running out
of distractions. I heard her

call you her wife to a friend. An inch
of leather slipped from my fist

and the antelope in my chest bolted
for the blonde at the bar in the inevitable

flannel. I had to order another cider
to quiet the herd. Whole nations

get divided, new governments
formed, replacement constitutions drafted

and approved in the time it takes one lesbian
to pack her electric toothbrush and dissolve

her non-legally binding domestic arrangement.
it’s exhausting. And I like you. I enjoy

our text message flirtation which, by the way,
I suspect your ex-girlfriend is reading. She’s got

that I wish a fool would look
in her eye, and I don’t plan to have

my tires slashed without so much
as an in-person orgasm to show for it.

Is it you I adore or the back of you
walking out the door? All I know

for sure is that the view from here
is spectacular. and disappearing fast.


When I consider my untraumatized body
I think of how I never had a key
to the house I grew up in, all the locks
left undone daily, all night
the wind blowing through the hinges –

what was out was out and would stay
and what was in, sleeping.

Last night, your voice through the phone
telling me what to do to my body
rebuilt the room where I let a boy touch me
for the first time, the back seat
where we would touch from then on

and the woman I’d become, and the woman
I would love, how she touched me

across the table, on the hand, and the table
became that touch, and the walls
and the tall chairs we were sitting on, the empty
glasses between us, touch, and the bed
we scrambled into, and the face

of my roommate in the morning
when she opened the door

without knocking, the sheets barely
an ivy around us. Tell me what to do
again. Last night the wind
was wild, a thing attempting all the ways
to get in, these old wooden windowframes

rattling with the force of it, both doors
doing the same.


Marty McConnell lives in Chicago, Illinois where she works as a fundraiser for a youth and family center. She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and her work has recently appeared in A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry; City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry; Indiana Review; Crab Orchard; Salt Hill Review; Beloit Poetry Journal; Gulf Coast Review; and Drunken Boat.     …

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