audrey metzger is a central ohio native with an interest in all things queer and artistic. she is a self-proclaimed cat lady, a writer of poems, and a coffee consumer. her goals include thriving (not just surviving) and becoming a teacher.
deserve & desire
did the way my skin folds
at my elbows cause me to sin?
my therapist says promiscuous
like it isn’t even dirty.
he says it without any tinge
without any tinge of
we are beyond that idea.
of seducing one’s therapist.
i am more than a body count
though that number isn’t necessarily
a closely held secret.
was it my bleach blonde hair?
the dye i slathered onto each strand
myself? bent over the bathroom sink
like prayer. was it maybe the tattoo
on my upper thigh?
the one men saw and immediately
their thoughts were made dirtier.
promiscuous. he says it like he believes
i didn’t deserve what i got.
and i didn’t deserve what i got.
the man who handed me a blunt
and a rocks glass of hennessy.
the man who, upon revealing
the tattoo of a naked woman
said oh so you’re freaky, right?
like i was the girl from fucking
superfreak. the man who,
when i said stop,
i am beyond that idea.
that i deserve what i got.
and so when my therapist says
with no strings attached,
i catch my breath.
and for the first time
it doesn’t taste
like cigarillos and cognac.
violets on the teeth, violets on the tongue
no one’s mouth opens
to violets falling off the tongue—
the language of flowers sits
dead in my hands.
we are all quickly changing
into people we cannot recognize
in the mirror pocked with water spots.
this is growing up, we are told
by people with crushed-grape circles
below their eyes.
i cannot remember my own eyes
as i spit bloodied toothpaste.
i scrub my tongue with the coarse bristles
until there is nothing but pink left.
no trace of violet,
nothing lavender left from veins
the woman in the corner store
has the deepest purple bruises
on her wrists, each time i stop
to buy cat food and tinned coffee.
the sea of veins and busted vessels
is comforting, a language i try to speak
but when i open my mouth
there are no violets tumbling
onto the nicked bodega countertop,
only loose change, with its clumsy rattle.
with a mouth full of brambles
when does it happen?
when does what happen?
the thorns in my throat
the aching in my rib cage
like so many manic birds
blindly flying against the bars.
when do the beating wings
stop? sudden and alarming,
the lack of pain, the silence—
almost too much to bear
as blackberry juice dribbles
from my lips, my fingertips stained
with the sweet-bitter purple.
my teeth, no different from seeds.
when the birds in my chest die,
where does that leave me?
swallowing, swallowing fistfuls
of thorny brambles peppered
with the shiny, beady eyes of fruit.
Persephone has her six seeds
from hell. I have
the entire countryside’s underbrush
ready to be devoured.