we wrapped our throats in whiskey and our bodies
in quilts, backs to the plywood deck, skulls delirious
with sky-rambling emerald saucers

nostalgic for northwestern farmland
they’ve never touched. your irises go quiet
but for the scabby rustle of your neighbor’s chickens,

named for southern states whose summers she’s never sucked
humidity from. you are a forest fire prickling through pale skin.
your hair is soft and long and I thought sleeping

with a jewish girl could make my body holy
but there is a stone in my gut I cannot dig out
with prayer or fear. my ribs you climb like rungs of a ladder.

but not tonight. tonight, desire slithers out of the endless lake
like a banquet. we laugh about cities
we’ve fled and the ones we don’t know

we’re hurdling toward. our spines
whisper blank space
at the horizon,

pine trees fucking light into the wound-colored sky.

Erin Slaughter

Erin Slaughter

Erin Slaughter is pursuing an MFA at Western Kentucky University, where she teaches undergraduate writing classes. You can find her writing in River Teeth, Sundog Lit, Gravel, and Bellingham Review, among others. Her first chapbook of poetry, Elegy for the Body, is forthcoming from Slash Pine Press.
Erin Slaughter

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