Julie Doxsee


I ripped the feather
duster apart to
make a bird
hat to warm
my head under
the moon. You
lined tiny bottles
of black
currant vodka
on the dash where
a little gold tray held
the gold ring your
finger was too
swollen to
spear & the
cigarette holder
I took once into
the shadows  
to kiss. 


My eye painted
church tops where
the day before
was sky I pushed
my body against &
the red wall
slid gripping air
around the 
shaped room. 
I fell onto
a carpet of
dying plants &
terra cotta,
drank a vial of
poppy juice &
felt 100
hands land
on my chest.


There was a knock on
but no foot under
the door.     


The sunset matched
my dress & you
passed right through
me like I’d only
ever seen you in
a shard of mirror so
I stripped nude &
knit a new dress
from strings I pulled
from the couch. 


Your camp filled
with basketballs &
mine with cat fur &
shirts sewn from
leftover rags we
cleaned the house
for five days
straight with.  I
remember the
particular smudge
one song left
on my eye &
the flashbulb it left
in my mouth so now
when I open it it


You took the plant
leaf in your
hand & stems
heaved 100
hands up to
the ceiling &
I never told you 
but here I tell you
I planted our dust
bunnies in the dirt. 


It was your booted
lower leg I saw
reflected, cut off
at the foot.  I found
your tattoos in a cup
liquefied, my face
oval, blued.  I spilled
them on my arms
& they bloomed
dark morning

Julie Doxsee is the Canadian-American author of three books of poetry: The Next Monsters (Black Ocean, 2013), Objects for a Fog Death  (Black Ocean, 2010), and Undersleep  (Octopus Books, 2008). She holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Denver (2007) and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2002).  After several visits to Turkey over the years, in 2007 she moved to Istanbul, where she teaches academic writing, creative writing, and literature courses at Koç University. An excerpt from this poem originally appeared in CutBank.

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