LAUREN HILGER & DIONISSIOS KOLLIAS

Highlighted by a low, yellow light  

Jewels and crowns (monarchy) are the first things girls learn.  
To keep me muted and eager — years of the feminine mystique.  

Like a painting that smears onto its own frame,  
I wrapped a towel around my body, pretending it was one of my mother’s dresses.  

Her English was for me. She liked how I cut a tomato, or  
she knew I had to hear it when I spent too long—too long!—getting it right.  

Long, the ends wet and dirty. X always marks the spot.  
I would like to say I respect what I don’t know, that knock on the door,  

expecting you there. But enough of my fantasy,  
this is how our idea of robots is still telling a woman what to do.  

He’s at the door. Empty handed.  
In that life, I loved the violence of the gap after his word.  

I wanted its alchemy to pour down my chest and snap the room in place.  
The walls of my ribs housed me and the hall of my breath.  

I withheld what I deserved.  
I polluted the green lawn with my mouth,  

formed the bower of an interior spring.  
I remain, yours in letters,


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