Dec 18

poem written while listening to Patsy Cline


This is the voice someone shot into my vein

when I was in 5th grade, ready to pine for someone

and uncertain what that entailed.  I hear it

in the knees I skinned, the fingers laboring

over an anonymous valentine.  It’s in the cells

that haven’t been replaced by time, piano

plinking back to the part of my skull that

first sounded words like hurt and need.


It’s a voice I want to hear again, a healthy

obsession to feed.  She isn’t in the mouth

of the man who ordered me to grab his ass

on the dance floor, nor in the gold tooth of

the one with “big plans” for 3am.  She grabs me

by the neck and skates me into your familiar arms.

“Hurt me now, get it over,” she sings, but in

a hopeful way, the way I want to fight with you,

certain and lovely as a wooden glove.

I hear myself translating into your hips the

soft, necessary songs of old breath.  The strings

sigh in time.