by Jamie Hood
Cover image by Artemisia Gentileschi.
Let me try again.
We know this story.
A girl wanders alone in a wood.
A path, unencumbered.
Held between streams as a lover is held
in the heart’s palm, attended to tenderly & so private.
Along its boundaries soft rush, stretched frail as dusk light
about the water; also broomsedge, also buttery hepatica, also
sweetspire, also sweetgrass. Then a bower. The bower is
not a metaphor for a dark place. It is the dark place.
Kneel. Bless the purple false foxglove’s blushing face
in July. Chew yarrow for tooth ache or throb of grief.
Then a thrush song. It is quietened
by wet leaves. Then—; embrace:
forgotten thing. Salt lick of sweat.
Taste of humid climate. You’d thought you
were alone. You forget: a girl is only ever
as alone as a man allows.
This is a wood Know
his shape Leave horns
of Lyfts behind We are
in the thick of the fairy
story now under cover
deciduous trees who
delicately shape shift
model new looks This is how
we adjust the visages of time or
perhaps its investment in
passing am I
ever this selfsame girl
born of lichen wet dark
Pass stairstep moss
blanketing the valley
in whispers Sidestep
hogweed to avoid
blindness also third
degree burns Sidestep
men for same
of waiting teeth
Jaws masticate &
masticate All of me
is a bolus now I am
a myth made
o my god
Here is my container When I am chewed my bones
disappear Darling I say let me make this easy on you
No I am trying
to get my story
the FM radio I calibrate
my gravity I am listening
to the news & on the news
there are always girls walking
what a dangerous thing Our legs
take us all over We are spreadable
as imitation butter &
this is how you like it
A girl walks in to a bar
a party an alleyway
her bedroom any place
a girl walks & is
taken what is the word
for this today is it the United States Alex
I ask what is cultural DNA We recall
this implicitly How do you say—;
intergenerational trauma in poem -speak
historico-special trauma trauma of girlness;
or the human Let’s Get Metaphysical Baby
—or the damned beingness of any of it …how
do you sing R**E in a hearable register
Jamie Hood is an ex-doctoral student, ex-hooker, and current insufferable Twitter e-girl. She’s busy finishing a book-length hybrid manuscript called RAPE GIRL, selections from which have been published by The Rumpus. She lives, writes, dog moms, and bartends in Brooklyn.