from the Casio set at the old age home
I think: this is sprawl.
I think about you as some lo-fi Ophelia
all singing all denim with the tags still
on your scarves,
I think about your edges.
This is a poem about the snake bite kit
my dad kept in the garage:
when I was really young it seemed
all my soft dolls were
bitten by snakes
I feel like I am living in
anticipation of some great pain
that glides in the grass
I feel it coming before it hits
like it is of my own body.
It hurts to tell you I have loved before.
I could have gone to Bryn Mawr
where the girls leave their boots out
in the hallway in lines
they have fireplaces in their rooms,
lawns fit to be married in.
Imagine Madeline with a penchant
for chain smoking and you will know
the girls at Bryn Mawr.
I read a section of the student paper—
does anyone want to go to a rock concert
does anyone want to do it in the showers
Another rainy night in new york I think about the a capella group
the all-girl acting troupe
they take the train to Haverford to meet boys.
they take the train to Philadelphia to meet boys.
In one room we set up sleeping bags
you tell me what it is like to be a fat ballerina from
new york city I imagine smoking up
with my new friends I dream
on the treadmill in the grand hall
we bed, we breakfast, I drag you inside
so I can try this Barbour coat: crisp, elegant
capable of keeping out rain.
I don't seem to mind anything at all
I was just searching for this crispness
Rob and me go to the locals bar and hate it,
we wonder about your discontent.
I drink before I reach the kernel
of my usual argument
everyone in your family knows how to tie
sailing knots, there are the pictures to prove it
you stopped your lessons at
search and rescue
We drive around the coast to see the saltbaked houses
and other fine sediments. We eat
crab cakes, cheap and delicious
wake up loving you,
lift myself from the dock with both hands
Kristen Poli organized her first poetry reading in middle school in response to getting reprimanded by a teacher. She eats, sleeps, and writes poetry in New York City.