Hidden under his skin like a whisper

is a statue of soot and suffering, a hymn of a day long gone

when men were bruises and women


A day of endless days.

He feels it with each breath, a growing reminder of his dwindling

and he gasps the sharp edges of fear at night,

fighting his ribs for air because if there’s one thing he’s good at

it’s fighting.





They sewed her up with hope and polypropylene

And sent her to what they assumed was Home.

“See you in two weeks” they chimed and she

laughed, because what they count by weeks she counts by

bus transfers,

street cleanings,

and the sound of young lovers

kissing on the overpass at night.





There’s an intruder in my house, Doc,

Not like the ones I woke up to all these years

This one smells like lavender and pleasantries and calls me honey with a sweet southern drawl like a long lick from the back of an ice cream spoon

Don’t get me wrong – she’s all right I guess

Wearin’ pearls to a rager and smiling at strangers–

I would never.

Miss Risperdal? you called her – a name of happy white whispers

Lilies and lies, like eating candy at a funeral she makes

me feel sticky shame and not

Myself and I just can’t keep her around you see I just

don’t trust people named Betsy.


-Tara Benesch