And this is what I say to you. A girl is a kind of work. A
body is a kind of bird. A cage is a kind of artwork.
When I saw the man’s body I said oh! what a beautiful
body and feasted with my eyes. I fisted with his tongue. I
tasted the salt of the rim.
His hands so very pink.
When I clipped the wings of my beauty I put them in a
lockbox and did not let them out until they were good and
When they were good and dead the man’s beauty became
overwhelming to me.
I know the feeling of cramming your flesh into a closet for
seventeen years. The hunger of being a dead girl in a sea of
When the violations began to emerge I was in my last year
of college. Had just turned twenty-one.
When I started remembering all my violations I curled into
a cage and didn’t speak. I cried for fourteen nights straight.
I didn’t think of the beauty of his body, his lovely thickets
To be a girl is of course always to be a dead girl.
When I emerged from my stupor I could only eat
clementines, drink as many margaritas I could find.
I cried for fourteen nights straight and when I emerged, I
hit my girlfriend.
We were walking in the woods after dark, cool mountain
crick reflecting glimmers of moonlight. We didn’t hear any
birds. I was thinking of what I had thought all before
thinking of the beauty of his body.
When my thoughts were good and dead I was still thinking
of his body, his warm pink hands.
We didn’t hear any birds. There had been according to the
paper a series of unexpected deaths. The birds had all left.
When I hit her my mouth popped in a sad oh! of surprise
and I started crying and she did too.
It was a tiny hit. It was on the upper part of her shoulder.
We had packed peanut butter sandwiches and the plan was
to eat them by the outskirts of the woods near where the
birds had all left.
After my violations began to emerge, hands fluttering like
wings filled my everywhere I looked. Flooded in the
hallway outside work. Flitted beside me between classes.
You’re less present now, a professor said during a class on
the witch hunts.
Are you still there, my boss at the gallery I girled at asked.
His lips fluttering like a bird.
I didn’t know why I hit her. I dropped my sandwich on the
ground. I picked my sandwich off the ground.
The moon with a thumbnail edge of blood, staining
everything slight little pink.
I felt like I had been crowbarred out of a closet. I felt like
my blood was replaced with something almost like blood.
The cage dangling against the edge of the woods, rattling
like a little rib.
I didn’t say anything, but of course we kept walking.
The woods stretching on forever, every dazzling orange
leaf crunching beneath our Uggs.
We kept walking, and I saw floating hands, and I’m sure we
could both hear so much. The murmur of the creek, and my
crying, and my girlfriend’s crying.
When the beautiful man unzipped his body I was still in
high school and didn’t know how to say yes.
So he said it for me.
My hands covered in snot and peanut butter, my girlfriend’s
hands covered in snot and peanut butter.
The moon so full one could feast on it. The sound of our
breathing, and the hoot of a woods creature. We were girls.
His hands were there too. He feasted on me.
The violations emerged and something was taken over in
me that I could not take back.
There in the woods, without the birds, you could hear it all.
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