When we arrive, I am wavering
in my belief in myself as a woman
who knows enough to say no to a man
with real leather seats. Turning,
we pass a house with too many dogs.
I feel them at my throat clamor
for the gristle of my risen heart.
This man could ruin me, I could
ruin him. I know when we kiss
how soft my lips will seem to him,
how sharp the shadow on his chin.
I’m sure I’ve been here before: the road
curves around a tavern, eyeless
and bored, a red brick church, rubble
where once a house surprised its own
foundation, burning to the ground
after a woman shot her husband
in the chest, his palm prints on the barrel.
Kathleen Kirk is the author of eight poetry chapbooks, including The Towns from Unicorn Press. Her poems appear in such print and online journals as Stirring, Redheaded Stepchild, Waccamaw, Nimrod, Poetry East, and Atlanta Review. Her Patricia Dobler Award-winning poem, “Fox Collar,” is just out in Voices From the Attic. Kathleen is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin House, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
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