from The Laceration

by Dawn Lundy Martin

As if the tender body is. As if the will is tender.
And like any creature that has its hood up, you
take a photo of yourself in front of a window, rain
so dark, the day/perspective so desired. You are so
desperate for beautiful adventure, the lights shut off
and the sweat of some hot stranger in your mouth. As if
to say “before” is to enter a house filled with teenagers
piled on top of each other. Did I tell you that it’s raining?
It’s not hard to think that it’s already night and necessary,
how any green is a wild form, and lastly, I don’t want to
inspire devotion if it means the I becomes separated from the world.


To travel into and out of place […] swift unnature of staying
becomes a frequency […] you can no longer hear, the construct
of happiness, for example, how we long for a heartbeat.
Cement lot […] aching willow tree, our bodies [before] beneath
splay, all sinew and glean, black drape and raw confidence. It’s 1986
and freedom is something inevitable, the way brown boys run
shirtless, invisible siren roaring toward a fit mouth to bit it, O
from saying lightness, from—
What is the opposite of devastation? Fruit?