<i><b>Wicked Alice Poetry Journal
wicked alice| winter 2009

Rachel McKibbens


Poem for Miss Meade


When I compare his wrists to a spoon handle, what I mean to say is:

I can't have anything of my own, not even the soup. Every love poem

is really a broken bone kaleidoscope, turning. The hands disguised

as a knife fight disguised as a pile of fruit in my lap have finally rotted

down to their wrinkled wood pits and my tongue hasn't the heart to make

knots of all these stems. Instead, it replaces the words forgive me with

axe handle, substitutes flesh with an undiscovered sea machine.

Every line designed to hurt a little less than its meaning. Which is

why all the men I ever wanted have become the one time  I slept

soundly in an empty house.  




And Even Smaller Nails


I should probably tell you

I know where you hide your diary.

I forget what I was looking for

when I found it. I think I was trying

to find the insecticide, or maybe

the green dress missing all of its buttons.


Sometimes I read it after we fight,

when I've locked myself in our room.

I never start from the beginning, just open it

wherever it wants and go from there.

I almost tore out June 11th once,

on principle, but decided against it.


The parts about me are my favorite.

I like how, each time you describe my body,

it is as if it's the first time you've seen itó

the gang of freckles orbiting my navel.

My crooked pinky toe. The birthmark

beneath my left breast, shaped

like a tiny hammer.


The first time I read what you thought

of my orgasms, I got pretty upset about it.

Until last Thanksgiving, when your mother

told me, over sweet potato pie, how much

you used to love helping your father

slaughter the chickens. How you would

take off all your clothes & chase them

around the yard, Screaming like a savage.

How sometimes you'd come to the dinner table,

face painted in blood, a bright white feather

tucked behind each ear.




Rachel McKibbens is a Brooklyn-based writer who is co-curator for the louderARTS Project reading series. She is a 2007 New York Foundation of the Arts poetry fellow and a 2007 Pushcart nominee.