Poem in Which I Play the Runaway

Rochelle Hurt


It could open with a party, strewn
with girls like tinsel, girls looking

for a house to stuff themselves in, girls
with two parents, girls glaring

with the joy of needlessness.

Or a chase scene: the snagged walls

of the Dallas house like a mother’s dress,
long-emptied of men, and closing on me.

I never wanted a home in him,

but the sex was like licking sheets

of corrugated iron, torn maw breathing
the corrosion in, the scent of him alone
like coming into a father’s midnight grip.

In this way, I was forever

the runaway, indolent little trinket of his.

But if you want it, I’ll give

the story of a woman’s deboning
by a pair of junk-rutted hands,

her good marrow honed to a prick
on the butt of a shotgun.

And how she loved it, the sin itself
a kind of homelessness.