They never tell you that it will be a gas leak. That one day you’re presiding over Barbie’s fourth
divorce, and the next you’re sprawled out over the arm of the couch trying to remember the way
your hips moved before, mining for lightning. And no one ever mentions that the first will be a
man who will never know your name. Stubble and eyeliner and a voice like glass. He enters late
at night, low so parents two doors down can’t hear the wailing. And he is beautiful and aciculate,
taut body dressed in bruises. He cries. You cry. It’s as though they forgot the slow quake growing
the devastating tremor
of your first waking hour.
Originally published in Formercactus
The pink of your thighs folding in is the conch
I hold to my mouth and the soft curve of your body
a bell to my ear. Sickness washes in like flood water,
foul and dejected. Your bones wilt in the afternoon sun
flung across the bed—it sprouts up through the quilt
tucked under your head, a crown for the dying.
And you wear your sadness like jewelry,
delicate chains of worry strung from your throat.
When that day comes, I will not waste you in the ground.
Your teeth will chatter—trinkets on my breasts, your eyes
plucked from the tide and dyed to match the sea
of magnets floating above to-do lists.
Your ribs will trickle from the ceiling,
a cage dancing beneath one-hundred watts.
Long bones make beautiful chairs that glisten
in the dining room and hum as they are pulled
from the table. And your hands will hold our rings
the way upturned stumps hold clay in their wicked roots
stretching up from the mouth of the river.
In the aftermath of gurneys and gauze, I will rebuild you.
Originally published in Barren Magazine
Katelyn Delvaux's writing has appeared in Nine Mile, New Territory, Split Lip, Menacing Hedge, and more. She currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri where she teaches composition, creative writing, and literature. Katelyn’s poetry has received multiple nominations for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, while her scholarly work has earned her fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Poetry Foundation. More can be found at www.katelyndelvaux.com.