He tells you about Jenny in a park
as green as apples—how she pursued
him, pulled him into closets
while her mother stirred
noodles soft. He touches you on the part
of your back you like, but it is more
a clutching, a choke chain. After, he takes
you to Boston Market where the chicken smells
chloroseptic and all the knives
are shrink-wrapped. He buys you
a bird and tubs of instant potatoes.
Commands you to eat. And your body does,
though you are floating above it, a shrinking
balloon ignoring its gravity. Your body unwraps
the fork, pokes at the wing, crisp and bright
with fat. That night, in the bathroom, your body looks
at itself in the mirror, its seventeen-year-old eyes
dead in the iris. Then it takes off your clothes,
hovers to bed where he touches you,
and all you hear is her name.
Erin Elizabeth Smith is the Creative Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and the author of three full-length poetry collections, The Naming of Strays, The Fear of Being Found, and Down, forthcoming from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals, including Ecotone, Guernica, Mid-American, Florida Review, 32 Poems, Willow Springs, Third Coast, and Crab Orchard Review. She is a Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Tennessee and serves as the Managing Editor for Sundress Publications and The Wardrobe.