--clast (to break)
by Liza Bachman


Hands whose folds and creases
xxxxxxxspoke not of rail splits or nails
A mouth whose cough sputtered
xxxxxxxangels into the dust of a long road

I saw women dry his gentle
xxxxxxxfeet with their hair
I saw men covet
xxxxxxxand beg to know him
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe salt cries of Gomorrah
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfell from their trembling members


My maidenhead
xxxxxxxso long since turned to callous
Made supple and loved
xxxxxxxby his merest glance.
Without this money
xxxxxxxthat feeds us all
Without the bread or laundry
xxxxxxxI love you
and such love had no precedent
xxxxxxxin the groping hangnails
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxor gummy fish kisses of boys come of age.


He pressed me to the Joshua trees
xxxxxxxand sobbed, Don’t you understand?
Understand that I’d die for you
Have traveled a thousand thousand
xxxxxxxfurlongs just to take their
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxpunctures to my own gut
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxin the stead of yours?


So the lifetime of wretched yesses
xxxxxxxmumbled into boils and leprosy
washed away with eyelashes in my hair
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxslippery fingers feeding me
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxpomegranate and red delicious
lips inserting breath
xxxxxxxso long since wrenched
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxfrom my chest and belly
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand trapped, angry, purchased womb





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