For a Detroit Artist I Suspect Isn’t Really Named Mario Allegretti
An overdose of stars squinting at Lake Michigan
detracted from the personals ad
etched in lines creasing your forehead:
30-something artist with a guilt complex
shaped like Lolita, seeks
late-teen girl, all sex and candy and cherry chapstick,
a chip in her left shoulder too big
to wrap a mouth around.
We scavenged the wood line
for anything dry. You leaned
branches together into a teepee,
such a careful house for burning.
You jimmied the cork out with your pocketknife,
and we drank the best white wine
the gas station had to offer
from sandy dixie cups.
The sky spat a baptism over
our entwined bodies. Afraid
of hypothermia and smaller gods,
you lugged me up too many dunes
to the vacant parking lot.
I awoke to snoring and wondered
at how my head rested so long
in such a distinctly Italian mat
of graying chest hair.
You found me sitting cross-legged
in front of the easel, studying
your angsty depiction of some Detroit factory
You asked me to pose for you,
but I didn’t want any rust painted
over my smooth, pretty hinges.
Another Christmas break spent fulfilling
Mom’s recipe cards. Cutting angels
from dough. Attending the fudge thermometer.
Mixing up a batch of something called
white trash: equal parts cheerios, pretzels, chex,
and nuts, coated in white chocolate and powdered sugar.
My cousins will nibble handfuls of themselves
from a tacky Christmas tin. The crunching
between teeth—the spine that stands us up,
our raising, rising from nights as Jerry Springer
refugees, not equal parts anything, mutts
chasing our tails around bars. I mix my blood
with ice and bourbon to calm nerves
as I search for somebody to put me to sleep
who smells like my father, all cigarettes
and aftershave. My cousins float above sleep—
bed down in cocaine clouds. They crave neon
around their necks at raves, ecstasy bartered
for Grandma’s pearls. Say they never shake
so terribly I’m afraid to hold them. Say fear
didn’t shepherd me to college. I left to learn
to cast drafts out of multi-syllabic words
with Latin roots. To write endless poems
about foreign mythologies. To whisper with
a more refined tongue. To realign my spine
into a straighter posture. To call myself trash
and burn pages of bullshit rhetoric for heat.
About the author:
Stevie Edwards currently resides in Chicago and works as a literacy coach in an elementary school. Her work has been accepted for publication at Pank Magazine, Poets Against the War, The November 3rd Club, and Monkeybicycle. In college she was Poetry and Fiction Editor for The Albion Review, a nationally circulated undergraduate literary magazine.