I’m Tired of Men Writing About Female Masturbation

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

I Will Not Waste You

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.