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Jade Benoit



Nancy assembles her body facade

with evening gloves & bouffant hair weave.


She preaches some serious porn star gospel.

She enjoys the occasional all-girl panty raid

but hushes the burn marks on her thighs, laced

with a garter, a landscape that won’t leave my hands still.


On prom night, Nancy is some kind of Hollywood.


Her laugh is wide as the curtain, the curtain wide

& hiding those camera club eyes only I see, a look that goes

all Bettie Page beneath the bleachers.


The debutantes do the Watusi & the crowd hollers

for what my dying wish was the two of us: alone

in the locker room, being our most pin-up together &

our breath mixing with lipstick lettering on the mirror

that spells: D-R-E-A-M-T-E-A-M.


But Nancy is slow dancing with Roger.

His hair is frosted like the side of a wedding cake.


Blowjobs! she mouths to me, afraid

her curls might fall from their pins. Hell yes!




Song Vs. Mother Vs. Wine


The emergency is over but the surgery tools still clink. I am picked apart I am nothing. I say to her: I am nothing without my Mother but she can’t read my lips through binoculars doused in holy water. The taffeta on my gown unravels. It sheds itself with my oxygen mask & I am fleeing the hospital. I am pressing hard on my wounds to keep my blood from running over the neighborhood & sky. Everyone is watching. The guardian angel from my picture books is standing outside the liquor store. She is smoking a cigarette & sipping cheap red wine from the bottle. The blood of Jesus she toasts & her heart rubs my rib as if it were my own. Her Cyndi Lauper t-shirt is ripped right through bright letters that say Oh Girls! reminding me who I have become. I am a wife mixing with runoff in the gutter. I am a songbird beside you our wings are retracted. Every sound we make together is a letter I might have written my Mother but she only listens that same crackling hymn: Lord I wanna go to heaven / But I don’t wanna die & I am just bleeding like hell all over it. 




The Reckoning


don’t : just don’t : don’t ripple away from me like : disturbed water : retreating with magnolia petals & cricket husks : don’t remove your human thumbprint ground in ash on my forehead : keep the thick fog on the bank : from becoming my carnival mask : lead me like starlet beauty : to the mattress : submerged in the river : i wrote a scripture : i named it stitches : the silence means I can’t howl : at the dirty animal on the horizon : with teeth like kitchenware & all its fog just drooling for me : don’t you see : the shellacked bark of old me : needs blessing : stripped bare : to pure healthy pill : just don’t let go of me: a dog belongs on a chain : or a doormat with me & my groom : fucking in an empty room : with antiseptic walls & rinsed-out womb : i’m sorry i taste like salt : dunk me under : make my skin : a new kind of candy

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