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Appellation

Once, while making love,
I forgot your name.

The capped wave,
of what may have only been

a tangled bed sheet,
washing you farther and       farther out.

As if the process of losing you
was already in motion.

Your name replaced,
first, with pet names. Then,

obscenities.
Your life your own

to cast away
like a bottle, if that’s

what you wanted. The message
irrelevant.

For once, my heart content
to let each wave

bring me closer       and closer
to nothing.

Your cock, stiff, in my palm,
like a corpse.

 

Orbit

That one time the world forgot
the mangled fruit in its wheel—
the click of rat nails as it scurried
forward in the dark.

And you pulled the car over
to watch a sudden flock
weave in and out. In and out.

Black thread that couldn’t stitch
anything, much less the sky.

That time you said        love
and waited. Surprised
nothing happened. The world kept
turning, turning. Only the moon’s mouth

open wide
in disbelief,

as I said it back, mostly,
out of habit.

Your fingers tapping a rhythm on the wheel,
each time, a little louder.

Everything fine. Only a handful of maps
locked away in your glove box.

And whatever click
I might imagine—just
my stiletto on the sidewalk.

The darkness turning with me.

 

 

Jessica Terson’s poetry has previously appeared in River Styx, River Teeth Journal, Salamander, Southern Poetry Review, Zone 3, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago.

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